The Battle With God (From Chapter 9: Our Battle With a Wonderful God)

This week I am taking excerpts from my new book, The Battle With God. It is currently available on Amazon.com in ebook and paperback form. The following is from chapter 9:

One summer night when I was a child, me and my brothers and sisters observed our middle-aged next door neighbor looking up into the Southern California sky with a pair of binoculars. From time to time she would say, “Wow” and “I can’t believe this.”
Our curiosity got the better of us and we walked over to her yard and asked her what she was looking at.
“A U-F-O.”
“A U-F-O?” we asked in excited disbelief.
Could it be? From the second she said U-F-O we were thrilled with the possibilities.
One by one, she handed each of us the binoculars, pointed to the U-F-O in the sky, and asked us to observe what we saw. When my turn came, I looked at the light in the sky and concluded it never moved much, but it did shake.
“Does it have legs?” our neighbor asked.
I looked hard. Yes, I thought it did have some kind of landing gear. (Of course, I never stopped to wonder why a U-F-O might extend its landing gear in the middle of the universe with no place land.)
We spent an hour out there in the yard contemplating what we were seeing and what it all meant.
My mom drove into the driveway. We ran over and excitedly told her about the U-F-O.

She told us it was time to go in the house.

Once inside, she revealed that she was not a believer. We were simply seeing a star, or perhaps a satellite. It was rather deflating to realize our mom was an unbeliever.
Of course, I now know what my mom knew. Our next-door neighbor believed in all kinds of things that simply were not real. She believed in Tarot Cards, crystals, and many other forms of spirituality. I think drugs may have helped her belief some as well, but I’m not sure.
It didn’t take long for the warmth of our awe and excitement to disappear in the cold hands of reality. There was no U-F-O. Our neighbor and her binoculars had not changed the world as we knew it.
I know why I wanted to believe. I wanted to believe because I know there is something more to life than the natural. There is more to life than the everyday material world. I knew there was something magical to the world, I just wasn’t sure where to find it. I wanted to experience the wonder of the world.

A sense of wonder is an emotional response of awe. It is the point in which we are in awe of something greater than ourselves and marvel at what we witness. It is the mysterious that we cannot fully comprehend. It is a longing we are unaware of until we experience it.
Unfortunately, much of Christianity has been sucking the life out of wonder for decades. Donald McCullough said that if you visit a church on Sunday “you will not likely find much awe or sense of mystery.” Ask yourself this question the next time you worship in church: Does the worship service, the message, the atmosphere, or even the architecture do anything to inspire awe?
The Bible says that our relationship with God is meant to be awe-inspiring and filled with wonder. Yet we are bored. We are meant to be amazed by God. Yet we are unimpressed. We are meant to live in a state of wonder because of the God we serve. Yet, far too often, God’s wonderful works are not producing the sense of awe that they should.
Where did our sense of awe go? What became of something that was once understood as a central condition of the heart?

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