For Want of Wonder

“The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.”
~ GK Chesterton

Wonder. It’s that feeling you get when your breath stops and your body tingles, as everything else fades into the background and all your attention fixes upon the object evoking such awareness. This sensation of wonder occurs when longings—even those so hidden we’re unaware of their existence—are satisfied.

We witness unspeakable tenderness in the eyes of a loved one, or we see the ocean, waves kissing the shore in perpetuity, always the same, yet ever changing in hue and flow, or we read of a weather-beaten ranger, toiling for years in obscurity, serving those unaware of his existence, at last take up his inheritance as king. Longings, for love and connection, for beauty, for right to win out, find satisfaction in part…and wonder stirs. Even greater, we discover that the eternal God took on mortal flesh, suffered on this earth, and surrendered his very life to redeem those who set themselves in opposition to him. And wonder wakes to the fullest degree as our longings for true love and worth find their ultimate fulfillment.

Wonders, great and small, tailored to engage longings in the human makeup surround us, whether on the pages of a novel, the natural world, or the realm of spiritual truth. We were fashioned with a desire even for wonder itself. But, as Chesterton suggests, so often we starve for want of wonder, blind and insensible to that which should stir the greatest amazement. Our hearts become jaded, our truest longings dulled by the demands of life, hurts, sorrows, and outside pressures. And as our longings dwindle and die, our capacity for wonder also shrinks.

When the world around seems bleak and washed out, dull grey and lacking in even the smallest hint of wonder, we still have a choice—remain numb or allow God to awaken our hearts. As we release fears and old wounds, cast aside worries and distractions, and engage fully with God, inviting him to enliven our souls, wonder stirs once more.

So choose a vibrant heart. Choose to dwell on the wonders surrounding you—the sun rising and falling without fail, beauty arising from ashes, and life redeemed from death. Don’t starve from want of wonder—there’s a rich feast spread out before you.

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