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Tozer on Wonder

[W]e do not know. We save face by repeating frivolously the popular jargon of science. We harness the mighty energy that rushes through our world; we subject it to fingertip control in our cars and our kitchens; we make it work for us like Aladdin’s jinn, but still we do not know what it is. Secularism, materialism, and the intrusive presence of things have put out the light in our souls and turned us into a generation of zombies. We cover our deep ignorance with words, but we are ashamed to wonder, we are afraid to whisper “mystery.”

~from The Knowledge of the Holy

I like to have things “all figured out.” If pressed, I might have to admit I pride myself on it. I like to be able to present what I think and believe in a tidy, logical explanation. I am probably not unlike the average reader here in that regard. After all, we both live in a post-enlightenment age that prizes reason above, virtually, all other things.

But Tozer here suggests, after a lengthy quote of Thomas Carlyle, that in such an approach to life one loses in trade more than one gains. Consider just a few of the foundational truths of our faith: that God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light; that God exists in perfect unity, yet also in three distinct persons; that Christ, the just, gave himself for us, the unjust. All these things are inexplicable. Yet do we, in our desire to rationalize, explain, and apologize, inure ourselves to their wonder? And in being so inured, do we starve the engine of our worship of its fuel?

What can we do to avoid such a pitfall? Tozer gives us a hint from Carlyle–“It is not by our superior insight that we escape [such wonder], it is by our superior levity, our inattention, our want of insight. It is by not thinking that we cease to wonder.”

When did you last take time to contemplate some of the inexplicables–either those of our faith or of the natural world–not in order to figure them out or be able explain them, but rather to delight in them?

About David Oestreich

David Oestreich lives in northwest Ohio with his wife and three children. He is a maker of poems, photographs, fishing flies, and Saturday afternoon semi-haute cuisine. His poetry has appeared in various venues, both print and online.