Wonder is my favorite feeling. I’m only good at wonder sometimes. It’s easy for me to look at the sea, the sky, the moon, and the stars and feel wonder. I often feel wonder when I look at the people I love, though sometimes that’s harder. I find it hardest to feel wonder when I think about who God is.
It could be argued that when I’m feeling wonder about the moon and the people I love, I’m feeling wonder about God who created them. And I know I’ve felt wonder when I think about God’s love for me. But when I simply think about who God is, I often don’t feel that same way. Sometimes this lack of wonder makes me feel ashamed when I sing worship songs about God as royalty. I’m singing it, but I know I’m not grasping it. I think that might be because I tend to shy away from recognizing how big God is.
My personal relationship with God has had its ups and downs, but it is that sense of intimacy and close relationship with Jesus that I have focused on growing, and I think that in focusing on the personal aspect of God’s character, I’ve been missing part of it.
I had the privilege of traveling to England this past week with my family. The thing about England is, everything is. so. old. Many of its buildings are castles and cathedrals that have been around for hundreds of years. We saw some of the palaces where royal families have, and still do, live.
To say they are beautiful is an understatement. They are ridiculous. I mean it’s a way over the top, everything is gold, lets make a table completely out of silver just to show how rich we are kind of beautiful. This is how Kings and Queens live.
The churches were about the same. My favorite place was St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was decorated much like the palaces I had seen earlier in the day. It’s giant. The floor is black and white granite, the walls engraved with angels and saints, the ceilings painted in detail and gold.
The cathedral is still a place of worship to this day. While I was there, a priest invited all the visitors to pray the Lord’s prayer. It was a powerful moment for me, and I felt a distinct feeling of wonder.
In 2 Samuel 7, David sits in his palace, and wonders at all God has given him. It occurs to him then, that while he sits in the beauty and luxury of his home, the Ark of God sits only in a tent, and he is moved to build a house – probably much like David’s own palace – for God.
But God says not yet.
Instead, God tells David that he will make David’s descendants kings, and that David’s own son will be the one to build God’s house, the temple.
David’s response to this is even more awe and wonder.
Then King David went in and sat in front of the Lord. David said, “Lord God, who am I? What is my family? Why did you bring me to this point? 19 But even this is not enough for you, Lord God. You have also made promises about my future family. This is extraordinary, Lord God.
20 “What more can I say to you, Lord God, since you know me, your servant, so well! 21 You have done this great thing because you said you would and because you wanted to, and you have let me know about it. 22 This is why you are great, Lord God! There is no one like you. There is no God except you.
David was so in awe of God that he wanted to honor him the way a King was honored. The architecture and beauty of the St. Paul’s Cathedral tells me this was also true of the Christians in England so many years ago.
I’m thankful for the perspective that the palaces and cathedrals in London gave me. For me at least, it was hard to sing about God as king when I had never seen a throne room. And now that I have, it feels scarier.
“Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, you have said to me, ‘I will make your family great.’ So I, your servant, am brave enough to pray to you.”
St. Paul’s Cathedral was a whisper to my heart that I need to learn how to be brave.
God has patiently reminded me, many times – against my doubts – that he is my friend, that he loves me. And now I feel like I may be entering a season of learning how to confidently approach God on God’s throne.
Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
The idea of approaching a throne intimidates me. My reaction to the beauty, greatness, and magnitude of who God is is fear. But I think wrapped up somewhere in that fear is wonder. And though God is described as wearing a crown, he sits on a throne of grace, always ready to extend mercy.
What is more wonderful than a King who would also want to be our friend?