When Was the Last Time You Were Truly Amazed?
We hear that word all the time.
“That meal was amazing.”
“What an amazing movie.”
“I had an amazing afternoon.”
Here’s how Dictionary.com defines the word “amaze": to overwhelm with surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly.
So…let me ask you again: When was the last time you were truly amazed?
I have eaten some pretty good food lately. I have seen a few really cool movies. And I have had some truly enjoyable afternoons. But I don’t know that I was “overwhelmed with surprise or sudden wonder.” I’m not sure I was “astonished greatly.”
Then Monday happened.
- It was just before 7pm.
- I was tired.
- My shoulders were aching from carrying a heavy backpack.
- My feet were sore from wearing boots for twelve hours.
- My legs were burning from 7,000 feet of elevation gain in one day.
It was so worth it.
For as I came over the ridge, this is what I saw:
I stood there. Amazed.
Amazed at the majesty of it all. Amazed at the beauty. Amazed at God’s artwork. Amazed that I was standing 12,281 feet above the sea. Amazed at how perfect the weather was. Amazed that I was about to parachute down to the parking lot. (Just making sure you’re paying attention.) Amazed that I could see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson – all while standing in one spot.
Yes. Amazed was exactly the appropriate word.
Throughout the two days, my buddies (Pete & Pete) and I talked frequently about the Word. The written Word and the Living, Incarnate Word. The Word that spoke into existence what we were seeing.
At one point on the first day, Pete said, “Hey Keith. You should give us a little Word while we hike.” Since I’m sharing the Book of James this Sunday at a Seattle-area church, that’s what's been on the top of my mind lately.
We spent the better part of the next hour listening to, discussing, and soaking in this letter from Jesus’ brother. It was wonderful.
Probably the most poignant moment came as we walked through the lower part of the mountain, surrounded by trees that had been completely ravaged by fire less than a year ago.
In the midst of black, leafless trees, we came to this part of James:
In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
(James 3:5-6, NLT)
As I thought about how differently the Word sounded, I was confronted with this sad reality:
I am too rarely amazed by the Word.
I have spent the last 24 hours pondering this and realized that a couple of the reasons why I experienced amazement at the summit of Mt. Adams could also help me (and hopefully you, too) be amazed at God’s Word more regularly.
Reason 1: I was intentional about soaking it in. I love to hike. I enjoy being on the mountain. But I don’t do it very much. (Insert both good and lame excuses here.)
However, as we started out on Monday morning, I didn’t know if or when I would return to Mt. Adams. But I did know that even if I returned, the chance of the weather being this perfect was almost zero. I didn’t want to miss a thing.
So I looked. I noticed. Flowers. Birds. Rocks. Running water. Clouds. Colors. The shape of the mountain. The tracks in the snow. The valley below. The clouds rolling over the foothills like a slow-motion waterfall.
What if you and I were that intentional about being fully present in the Word? Seeing. Hearing. Sensing. Being. Noticing.
Reason 2: I was willing to endure to get to the top. As I type this, I have a blister on the back of my left foot and my calves are asking me what I was thinking. There were times on the mountain when I think I might have audibly heard my thighs laugh and cry at the same time.
Truthfully, pressing on wasn’t always painful. But it was always the harder choice than not pressing on.
Developing a love for the Bible doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming consistent in our time in God’s Word – and enjoying the time! – is a habit that must be started…and nurtured.
It will always be easier to not hang out in God’s Word. It will always be easier to sleep in. It will always be easier to simply read a “verse-for-the-day” or a 3-minute devotional. It will always be easier to leave your Bible reading for Sunday morning.
Yes. It will always be easier. But you will never be amazed.
And I’ll take amazing over easy any day.
Questions: When was the last time you were “amazed” while reading the Bible?
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