Have you ever sat in awe of a sunset, marveled at a waterfall or admired a field of flowers? Several months ago, my family and I were on an airplane. As we were boarding the plane, the sun was setting. My son was thrilled to see the sunset and insisted on sitting in the window seat so he could admire the beautiful colors. We reminded him that an awesome God created that awesome sunset.
Even in secular circles, it is not uncommon for people to post awe-inspiring photos of the beauty God has created — beautiful trees, starry skies, colorful birds and cloud formations.
Even in the hearts of not-yet-believers, the natural world often sparks awe, what author and psychologist Dacher Keltner defines as “the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your current understanding of the world.”
In his book “Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How it Can Transform Your Life,” Keltner says awe has many health benefits to humans, including calming down the central nervous system and triggering the release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes trust and bonding.
Christians readily acknowledge God as Creator of the massive trees, vivid sunsets and snow-capped peaks they admire. Those who don’t know Christ see only what their eyes perceive; they don’t yet know the Creator on a personal level.
‘Maker of heaven and earth’
Scripture speaks to the awe factor. In Psalm 121, for example, David speaks of looking at a mountain and seeing how wonderful God is: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (vv. 1–2).
This psalm, one of the Songs of Ascent, addresses the dangerous trek to Jerusalem undertaken by pilgrims going to the temple. As the travelers hiked dangerous roads and pathways, they knew the Creator was with them as they made their way to their final destination.
As Christians today, we are on a dangerous trek. The world around us is filled with “toils and snares,” to quote the beloved words of “Amazing Grace.” We must remember to keep our eyes on the Lord, knowing that eternity with Christ is our final destination.
As you look at God’s creation and stand in awe of what He has made, remember these points:
First, creation reminds us of God’s power as the Creator. God has created a plethora of lovely scenes. When was the last time you sat in awe of one of His masterpieces?
Second, creation reminds us of God as the final Judge. Just as the sun sets and the day is over, one day there will be an end to this world, and God will come again to bring His children home. 1 Corinthians 4:5 reads, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
Third, creation reminds us that God has given you this day so you can glorify Him. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Despite how hard or good your day might be, God has given you this day as a gift. Find your “awe” moment during the day to glorify God and thank Him for the day He has given you.
Fourth, creation reminds us that God is gracious. Ephesians 2:8–9 declares, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God’s grace saves us through faith, but it also gives us security. Just like a stuffed animal gives security to a child when he or she is sad, the Lord gives each Christian security through His grace.
Consider where you are focusing your attention. Take some time today to look up and out. Find something to be in awe of, then shift your focus to the awesome God we serve.
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