How to Develop a Sense of Wonder for God and His Work
- Whitney Hopler Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2012 20 Nov
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Margaret Feinberg's book, Wonder Struck: Awaken to the Nearness of God (Worthy Publishing, 2012).
God is constantly offering us wonderful glimpses of His presence with us in our world. Yet, too often, we don’t notice because we’re so preoccupied with the details of our lives that we don’t look beyond them to what God is showing us.
If your focus has shrunk down to just trying to get through each day, it’s time to enlarge your perspective so you can enjoy an abundant life that’s filled with wonder. Here’s how you can develop the sense of wonder that God wants you to enjoy:
Pray for wonder. Ask God to reveal more about Himself and His work in the world to you, and to give you a greater ability to notice what He wants to show you.
Discover the wonder of divine expectation. God hopes that people of all ages will approach him with childlike wonder. Reflect on the faith, enthusiasm, and receptivity that children display toward God and His work. Just as children expect the best from God, decide to do the same yourself. Eagerly anticipate that, whenever you invite God to pour His miraculous power into your life, He will give generously and gracefully answer your prayers in surprising and wonderful ways. Expect God to show up in your life, look for Him, and celebrate what you see.
Discover the wonder of God’s presence. God has promised to always be with you, and even though His presence is invisible, you can sense it spiritually. It’s easy to sense God’s presence when your life is going well and you’re doing something exciting, such as hiking outdoors in a beautiful park. But remind yourself that God is with you even during the worst circumstances, as well. When a crisis shocks you and you feel like asking “Why?” decide to ask “Who?” instead: Who will constantly be with you, helping you every step of the way? God will. Focus on that, and pursue God when you’re dealing with troubling or challenging circumstances. Once you become aware of God’s presence with you during tough times, you can laugh with joy instead of crying, because you’ll know that God’s power will help you overcome your circumstances.
Discover the wonder of creation. After creating the world, God declared that every part of it was good, and creation reflects the goodness of God’s own nature. Spending time in the natural world that God has created will make it possible for you to experience and comprehend God more. Incorporate regular time outdoors into your life however you can, such as by setting your alarm early on some days to make sure you’re up in time to watch the sunrise, or spending your lunch hour at work eating outside.
Discover the wonder of rest. Getting enough rest will refresh your physical body, expand your mental capacity, and increase your spiritual awareness. Ask God to help you change your lifestyle so that you’re living with life-giving rhythms at a sustainable pace. Observe a Sabbath of day of rest each week, as well.
Discover the wonder of prayer. If your prayer life isn’t fresh, you’re missing out on wondrous encounters with God that you could be experiencing through prayer. Get rid of clichés, awkward language, and any other stale components of your prayers. Refuse to take prayer for granted and remind yourself that it’s an awesome opportunity to communicate with the Creator of the universe. Then change the way you talk to (and listen to) God so your conversations with Him are fresh.
Discover the wonder of restoration. God often extends opportunities for you to join Him in the work He is doing to restore people’s broken lives in this fallen world. Pray for the ability to discern when God is calling you to reach out to people in need, to see possibilities rather than just problems in their lives, and to offer prayer, listening, and practical help whenever you sense God leading you to do so.
Discover the wonder of friendship. Invite people into your life rather than pushing them away. Trust God to guide and protect you as you build relationships with people, keeping in mind that God’s grace can help broken people build strong friendships. Aim to know others from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Rejoice that God considers you a friend, and confidently approach Him that way in prayer.
Discover the wonder of forgiveness. If you struggle with following God’s command to forgive the people who have hurt you, it’s a sign that you’ve lost sight of all the sins for which God has forgiven you. Ask God to remind you about how much He has forgiven you, and let your gratitude motivate you to forgive yourself and others while relying on the Holy Spirit’s help to do so.
Discover the wonder of gratitude. Give thanks to God in every situation (even the most difficult ones) because you can trust God’s promise that He will work out good purposes in all situations. Keep in mind that God doesn’t expect you to thank Him for bad things, but He hopes that you will thank Him in the midst of bad things, because He is always good.
Discover the wonder of abundant life. Ask God to give you the faith you need to overcome fear, so you can fully live the abundant life that He wants you to enjoy. Allow yourself to dream, and take risks to help make those dreams come true. Reflect on what may be holding you back from fulfilling God’s potential for you. Then ask God to remove those obstacles so you can make the most of each day of life that God gives you.
Margaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive, and Extraordinary Women. Her books and Bible studies have sold over 600,000 copies and have received critical acclaim and extensive national media coverage from CNN, the Associated Press, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and many others. She was recently named one of the 30 voices who will help lead the church in the next decade by Charisma magazine and one of the “40 Under 40” who will shape Christian publishing by Christian Retailing magazine. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif, and her super pup, Hershey. Visit her website.
Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: firstname.lastname@example.org to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.
Publication date: November 20, 2012