FIRST-PERSON: Childlike awe
FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BP) -- I grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast and love it. But it's a little more than just loving it, it's in my blood.
The majority of my earliest memories are of water skiing up and down the canal, fishing off the coast of Orange Beach, shrimping in Perdido Bay and sitting at the end of a pier watching beautiful sunsets with my family.
Not having had a beach fix in years, our family planned a vacation to Blue Mountain Beach, Fla. I'd been looking forward to a time to "chill out" and decompress, and the beach is a good place to do just that.
Our kids and their families would be joining Jeanne and me the day after we arrived. Our daughter Wendy called and said our 4-year-old grandson, Davis, said to her, "I can't wait to see what the beach looks like." It hadn't dawned on any of us that Davis had never seen the Gulf, the sand dunes, the beach or the vast horizon.
Late that next afternoon when Wendy's family arrived, we walked a couple hundred yards toward the beach. Blue Mountain Beach is not exactly a mountain, but it is reportedly the highest point on the Gulf Coast, a whopping 64 feet above sea level. However, from even that vantage point you get an excellent vista.
As we reached the top of the dunes, seeing the great body of water before him and sugar white beaches stretching as far as he could see to his right and his left, Davis' eyes were as wide as saucers. "Wow, it's so big!" he exclaimed with giddy excitement. I wish you could have seen that kid at that special moment and experience his enthusiasm.
I can only imagine how it must have blessed the heavenly Father's heart to see, hear and feel the child's astonishment at and genuine appreciation of His creation. The psalmist writes, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1). Little Davis didn't need to be a theologian in that moment to understand the greatness of God. He was looking at it in wide-eyed wonder.
I'm afraid we sometimes get so familiar with what God has done and is doing that we lose the awe of Him and the wonder of the work of His hands. Our worship lacks wide-eyed wonder. Our cynical and critical spirits, our pride and arrogance, our harshness and hardness, our "been there, done that" attitudes dull our vision for the majesty of God. Real worship is stepping back from all that and taking up a child's heart of simplistic faith that is blown away by God's grace, greatness, power, majesty and love.
Take a Sabbath moment and really see the next sunset, mountain, flower or friend. Experience God's mercy like it was the first time. Let His beauty astound you.