This Awe That?

I was struck by the quote from Paul Matthies that Jesse used in his sermon last Sunday:

“Sometimes we call ‘loneliness’ what God’s word calls a longing for unhindered intimacy with him and others. And we start thinking that other people can provide us what only God can provide. And it amazes me how often I call ‘loneliness’ what is actually a groaning for redemption. And instead of trying to numb it, I should embrace it and try to realize that it’s God’s good gift to me to remind me that this world is not my home.”

This quote ties in nicely with a book that I’ve been reading recently – Paul Tripp’s Awe. In this book, Tripp states that we all have an awe problem. It’s a problem that he labels AWN or awe wrongedness. The big picture of awe, according to Tripp, is broken down into 8 points:

1. Awe is everyone’s lifelong pursuit.

  1. God created an awesome world.
  2. God created you with an awe capacity.
  3. Where you look for awe will shape the direction of your life.
  4. Awe stimulates the greatest joys and deepest sorrows in us all.
  5. Misplaced awe keeps us perennially dissatisfied.
  6. Every created awe is meant to point you to the Creator.
  7. Awesome stuff never satisfies.

We end up in a state of AWN when we shift our awe of God from him to something or someone else. I don’t know about you, but I find myself doing this all too often. We all know what it is like to be in awe of something – to have that feeling of wonder and amazement. Maybe it is brought on by seeing the starry expanse of a clear night sky or maybe it is brought on by the sound of a symphony orchestra playing music. It is an addictive feeling. It is something that we all want more of, and so we search for it incessantly. Like an addict, we repeatedly return to those things that bring us this sense of awe, and the hunt for more consumes us, as we ignore the fact that apart from God nothing can satisfy.

Now, it is not wrong for us to get a sense of awe from things or people. Where we go wrong is when we attribute that awe solely to the created thing, rather than to the Creator himself. The world was created to bring about a sense of awe in each of us. King David writes in Psalm 19:1-4, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

This sense of awe is supposed to point us back to God. Paul writes in Romans 1:19-20, “…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

When our senses alert us to something that leaves us in awe, we need to remind ourselves of the incredible God who created such an awe-inspiring thing and who has equipped us with the ability to be in awe of his creation. Our awe of anything to be found in this created world should always point us back to the God who created all things, sustains all things, and is one day going to renew all things! And when our awe is ultimately found in him, we will be able to find even more awe in the things and people around us. I don’t know about you, but I want to live like that – constantly in awe of an incredible God who loves us and who has created so many wonderful things for us to enjoy and for which we glorify him during our time on this earth. That is just the beginning of our chief end, is it not?

Keep trusting Jesus,