They had started in Georgia and were headed to Heber Springs, AR., to deliver some motorcycles. Their delivery truck was on the opposite side of a gas pump at a station somewhere in Mississippi on I-78. The two of them were from South Korea and as we waited for our vehicles to be filled we had a brief but pleasant conversation.
As we were talking about origins and destinations, one of them burst forth with, “America is so big! You can drive from one end of South Korea to the other in four hours. But here, you can drive forever.” Our encounter ended before I could find out how long they had been in the country because I was curious whether their amazement was something recently acquired or if it was long standing. As far as amazement goes, that can make a significant difference.
In Psalm 8, David’s subject is the glory and majesty of God (v. 1). It is attested to by things above the atmosphere (“the heavens”), as well as by things on earth (children and infants). He develops the first by stating that in light of what he was able see of the size and grandeur of the universe, he doesn’t understand how man ended up in the privileged position of having dominion over it all. He is but a speck of sand in an infinite ocean. By the logic of size, he should be insignificant, yet he is anything but that. How can this be? David is filled with wonder and awe of the status God has given to man.
Do you suppose this was something David had recently stumbled across or was it something he had pondered about years before as a boy tending his father’s sheep? Knowing what we do of his life, I think David’s sense of awe was probably acquired early and exercised often. That’s the thing about wonder in its genuine form—it is alive, alert, and open. These are important characteristics because a sense of wonder isn’t the same thing as an infatuation with novelty. Novelty is all about the latest and greatest—whether it’s an offering from the entertainment industry, the fashion world, food, a product, etc. The downside of course, is that once the newness wears off, we have no use for it and we’re off in search of the next novelty. This is the reason we have lists of what’s hot and what’s not. Familiarity breeds contempt or at least a tee shirt saying, “Been there, done that, and bought this shirt.”
When you have a sense of wonder, familiarity enhances rather than diminishes. Even if you worked at the Grand Canyon every day your life, you’re never going to view it as just a big hole in the ground. In fact, the opposite is true. The more you learn about it, the more you will appreciate it. Relationships are meant to be this way as well, especially our relationship with God.
A significant aspect of faith is being alert, alive, and open to the wonders of life. Nothing can kill that quicker than an infatuation with novelty. Novelty creates consumers; wonder produces disciples. David had this sense of wonder. I’d like to think the two men from South Korea did as well. May we live in awe and wonder of our Father and His work.