“’…You’re going to look at this place, these empty and desolate towns of Judah and streets of Jerusalem, and say, ‘A wasteland. Unlivable. Not even a dog could live here.’ But the time is coming when you’re going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, ‘Thank God-of-the-Angel-Armies. He’s so good! His love never quits,’…. I’ll restore everything that was lost in this land. I’ll make everything as good as new.’ I, God, say so.”

–Jeremiah 33:10-11 MSG

If hilarity were a blossom in God’s garden, wonder would be its stem, rooted down deep in the soil of redemption. Sometimes, our transactional view of the Christian life (which presents a problem, God’s solution, and our response) causes us to miss this. The problem is obvious: we’re sinners. The solution unexpected: Jesus took our punishment and died in our place. We then respond by learning to love and follow Jesus. Now, it’s not quite as dry as I’m making it out to be…but close. In transactional Christianity, our flowers look more like earnest effort on a stem of agreement shooting up from the soil of redemption. Where hilarity (deep, confident gladness in God) weathers the worst storm, earnest effort wilts and tilts under prolonged days without sun and pounding rain. Agreement, commitment, and duty can never yield the kind of glad confidence that comes from wonder.

A synonym for “wonder” is “astonishment,” followed closely by “awe.” How often would you say you feel astonishment for the grace God gives to you each day? For me, I would say it’s few and far between. After shame passes, that makes me curious.

We are such people of shame – more false shame than true shame to be sure, but shame nevertheless. I sometimes wonder if we miss the enormity of what Jesus has done for us because we’re earnestly working to find some level of worthiness.

Oh, the irony of that! Adam and Eve chose against God and what did He do? He made them clothes. Abram lied, exchanged his wife for safety…twice…and what did God do? Birth a nation. Peter lied about knowing Jesus when He was sold out, beaten up, and killed. What did God do? Establish Peter as the rock of the church.

You see, the quality of God’s love is really different than ours. Even when we make choices against Him, He never exiles us from Himself. And we choose against Him every day. His response? God labors, like a mother in childbirth, to bring us to new life and true hope.

When our hearts break under the pain of how often we oppose God—when we can’t imagine how He can keep on loving us but thank God that He does—we begin to taste wonder. Delighted belief will bubble up against our doubts, fatigue, and objections…blossoming into hilarity—that is, a readiness of mind and heart to do God’s bidding with glad confidence and joy.

ACTION:  What are the flowers in your heart garden like? What is growing out of your redemption? What might the Lord be inviting you to have growing instead?


She Laughed Twice
Immersed in Wonder