“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained… O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!”
Psalm 8:3, 9
Helicopter pilot, Ray Asgar, flew over Gilcrest, Texas, and took a photo of a single little yellow house, belonging to Warren and Pam Adams. What is remarkable about this house is that it is the only house left standing after Hurricane Ike completely demolished nearly every home and business in this small, once-thriving community. Ike blew through Gilcrest, and in the fury of its wake, it leveled every raised structure that stood in its path. Complete buildings were torn to pieces and now scattered across a half-mile stretch of land. Nothing escaped the stormy blast of Ike’s ferocious winds. The Post Office in Gilcrest was gone, the local grocery store was gone, small eateries and restaurants were gone, dozens of houses were reduced to unrecognizable debris, and even every house of worship was completely destroyed, but – almost in defiance of the storm – this little yellow house was still standing amid the rubble, all by itself!
When Warren and Pam Adams returned to their town they were spellbound by the wreckage. They said all they could do as they stood in front of their little house, miraculously standing alone was to say, “Wow”. What other word could they say? Nothing could express their disbelief and utter amazement at that moment better than ‘wow’.
‘Wow’ is sometimes the only appropriate response that the mind can conjure up when it has just witnessed the impossible, or seen the magnificent, or experienced – what Webster’s Dictionary calls – the ‘sublime’; something that inspires awe and wonder. Who among us can pass by a majestic snowcapped mountain range, or look at the mesmerizing beauty of a cascading waterfall, or peer up in the sky on a dark summer’s night and see an innumerable host of twinkling stars, each one competing to outshine the other, and not literally have our breath taken away in awe and wonder? There are some things so wonderful, so beautiful and so awe-inspiring that the only response our hearts can give when our eyes behold them is – “wow”.
How tremendously sad it is when we lose our sense of wonder; when nothing sparks that childlike feeling of awe. Somewhere along the way, we as a human race lost our ability to be amazed. I actually think that it’s a dismal combination of many of the disheartening realities of life. Disappointments assail us daily; we are heartbroken by a love that we thought would last forever; the dream that we spent a significant portion of our life waiting for, never arrived; or that one success that we thought would deliver for us the ultimate satisfaction has unceremoniously let us down; and just like that, our ability to be amazed is gone. Nothing is left except a cold, doubtful, cynical shell waiting for something wonderful to come along and give it life. I believe that this loss of wonder is at the very root of depression, which makes it so easy for some to lose hope.
The majestic things in life that leave us awe-struck is God’s way of broadcasting His presence without even having to say a word. It’s God’s way of spotlighting His power, and showing forth His handiwork. In the courtroom of our individual consciences, God has called an infinite number of witnesses to stand and testify of His greatness and His power. Day and night take the witness stand and testify that they are products of the power of God. One has been commissioned to give light in the darkness, and the other has been commissioned to make it so that all of nature can quietly sleep. The wind testifies that it is an extension of the breath of God, and the rain testifies that it has been commanded to refresh the earth at the wish and whims of God. All of this is from the genius and masterful hand of God. What more could be said of the colorful radiance of the flowers that bloom in the field, or the masterful creatures that swim in the depths of the sea, or the graceful birds that fly effortless in the heights of the sky? Like the psalmist, when we consider these things, we should break forth into singing, O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! This is the scripture’s way of saying, “Wow”.
You don't need to venture to the depths of the ocean or wander through fields and mountains to be amazed by God. The true source of amazement lies within your own heart and soul. Just like the little yellow house in Gilcrest, Texas, you are still standing despite enduring countless heartbreaks, sorrows, and disappointments. You have walked on lonely roads and carried heavy burdens, yet you remain standing. The weights you've carried and the giants you've faced haven't been enough to break you. Despite the sins of your youth, you've survived and have been shown grace beyond measure. The mere fact that you've endured should be enough to leave you in awe, whispering "wow" in amazement.
So, how did we miss it? How did we miss the magnificent thing that God was doing in us? How did we not see that it was His hand softly guiding us through every challenging season of our life? How did we not recognize that it was his strength that carried us when we were too weak to continue walking? I don’t know how, but I know we missed it. I know this because we all have spent more time complaining about life than we have thanking God for it. Many of us rarely take the time to adequately say thank you. We never stopped long enough to embrace with joy the Hand that has been holding us up. We have never rested fully in His never-ending love or reclined completely in His all-consuming mercy. Simply put, we are the last house standing in a sea of wreckage and debris all around us, and somehow we failed to say, “wow”.
In essence, this is what praise is! Praise is the soul saying ‘wow’ when it considers the mighty works of God. This is what Psalm 139:14 means when it says, ‘wonderful are Your works, and that my soul knows right well’. Here the psalmist is saying, “Wow”. In 1 Kings 19:13, when Elijah went up to Mount Horeb and heard the still small voice, the Biblical record tells us that he came out of his cave and wrapped his face in his mantle and stood up to hear what God would say. That’s Elijah saying, “Wow”. In Job 1:20,21, when Job lost everything that he physically owned, including the death of his children and the loss of his health, the Bible says that he fell down to the ground, worshipped and said, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This was Job’s way of saying, “Wow”. There is passage after passage of great men and women in the scriptures, who never lost their ability to be awed by God. In times of great victory, and in times of great defeat, they were always able to say, ‘Wow’.
How about you and I? Can we look back over our life and see the hand of God in every detail and in every circumstances? Have you taken the time to truly study your own life? You would be amazed if you did. There would be no room for complaining, or arguing with God about what you feel hasn’t been fair in your life. When we truly stop to think about all that God has done in your life, and most importantly in your heart, how can you say anything else but “Wow”.
Gracious God, may we forever be struck with awe and wonder at the mighty works You have done in our lives. When you forgave us of our sins, You did the impossible, and You saved us from the unthinkable. You have kept us, blessed us, redeemed us and delivered us. When we think about it, all we can say as we stand before You is – “Wow”. In Your Awesome Name we pray. Amen.
Take a few days to sit down and write out all of the many blessings in your life. Start from your childhood, and go up through high school, college, your first job, your family and every season of your life. When you think of difficult or hard days, only think of them in light of the fact that God brought you through them. Write it all down. Stop and think about each one. And at the end of this exercise you will find yourself saying, “Wow”.
Published on Jan 7 @ 12:01 AM EDT