Lost In Wonder

Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:29-3029   Jesus answered, "The greatest is, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one:
30   you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'{Deuteronomy 6:4-5} This is the first commandment.
). But if we are being honest then there have been times when we have not sought God at all, never mind with our whole being. Maybe we have missed the last few Sunday services, we have not read the bible properly in some time, or we have completely neglected prayer in our lives. Then, often with an initial reluctance, we engage a "Christian duty" and by the grace of God we experience that sense of being lost in wonder. After this we lament how we have squandered opportunities to meet with God as we come to terms with how wonderful that encounter with God was. We resolve to seek God with a renewed determination, but slowly we wander back into the "desert", and the cycle repeats.

It is too easy to beat ourselves up, but clearly this does not work as most Christians can relate to this experience and yet we find ourselves doing it over and over again. So what is happening?

Regardless of the mode we use in meeting with God there is little doubt that God is the supreme source of goodness, beauty, and majesty. It takes only the tiniest glimpse of God to be struck down with a sense of His holiness, our utter unworthiness, and His unending love as we learn that He desires for us to meet with Him. It is in those moments that we are truly lost in wonder. There is nothing that can compare with God.

Seeking God
5The heavens will praise your wonders, Yahweh; your faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.
6For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh? Who among the sons of the heavenly beings is like Yahweh,
7a very awesome God in the council of the holy ones, to be feared above all those who are around him?
8Yahweh, God of Armies, who is a mighty one, like you? Yah, your faithfulness is around you.
Psalms 89:5-8

God promises that those that seek after Him with their heart will find Him (Jeremiah 29:1313   You shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your heart.
), and those that seek Him will receive blessings beyond measure (Proverbs 8:17-2117   I love those who love me. Those who seek me diligently will find me.
18   With me are riches, honor, enduring wealth, and prosperity.
19   My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold; my yield than choice silver.
20   I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice;
21   That I may give wealth to those who love me. I fill their treasuries.
).

So if we are doing our "Christian duties" and we experience nothing then it follows that it is not God that we have found. Could it be that God chooses to hide His glory from us? Perhaps if we are actively rebelling against Him. But what about those who put their faith in the mercy of God and are going through all the motions?

I am coming to the conclusion that the source of the problem is rooted in our expectations. Failed expectations lead to compromised experiences and so the cycle persists. We certainly cannot cry with any sincerity of how our soul thirsts for God (Psalms 42:1-21   <<For the Chief Musician. A contemplation by the sons of Korah.>> As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants after you, God.
2   My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
) In my own life I have settled for too long with a measured Christian life for fear of "letting go". I have been foolish to see doctrinal truth and emotional experience as two extremes locked in conflict with one another. In reality they are mutually exclusive and should exist hand-in-hand. What do we have if we know everything about God but never experience Him? Equally what good is an emotional experience if we have no grasp of who it is that we worship and could, in fact, be worshiping an idol? (Idolatry is worshiping anything which takes the place of the true God, who can only be known through sound doctrine.)

This is not to say that every time we seek God we should expect to be blown apart emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically. But if we seek God and feel nothing then we must ask ourselves what it is we are doing. If a husband or wife returns home to meet their loved one and feels nothing then they need to check if they came home to the right house.

Of course, as soon as we decide to put the world aside and spend time with God then we should not expect an immediate encounter. Often we need to get ourselves right: prepare our mind and remind ourselves of who it is we are meeting with. This is the point about seeking Him with our whole hearts. However, if we do seek God with our whole heart then we should expect to meet Him. And as two loved ones come together we should expect to be lost in wonder.

One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

Psalms 27:4