The Wonder of the Mundane and Mysterious: Having the Heart of a Child in a Cynical World


Image by Domk

There is something divine about children. As my daughter and I lay on the cool grass one hot summer afternoon years ago looking up at the sky, I realized this simple truth. We watched the clouds pass by in puffy clumps, forming and collecting together to make all sorts of interesting shapes. We saw dragons, ice-cream cones, and all sorts of images. She could lay on that grass for hours in awe of the incredible sky. She would look around at the grass and any bugs that may pass by. And though I love being with my daughter, after twenty minutes of laying there, I was ready to go about business. There was nothing unique or special about the grass, bugs, clouds, or anything else. They were just part of the mundane, everyday sights seen each and every day.

But I really wasn’t seeing.

Not in the way that my daughter or other children see the world.

You can see it in their eyes. Fascination, wonder, and awe fill their faces as they take-in all that is around them. The littlest things are incredible and exciting—from the random ladybug walking by to the fact that the sun and the moon can sometimes be seen in the same sky at the same time.

“Dad, Dad, Dad! Did you see that?! Wow! That’s amazing!”

And though it is shameful, I have to say on more then one occasion I have brushed aside my daughters excitement with some monotone reply like “cool” or “that’s nice honey”—a drab boring response to such zeal and excitement.

Why? Because that is what it is to me—drab, old, mundane, and lackluster.

I am numb to all that is, in reality, rather remarkable around me. And I suspect that most people are as well.

Something has happened as we have grown older. We have been taught that the things that we were once so excited about are really not that impressive. In their places, we learn to love stuff, money, career, relationships, and the like.

Everything is mundane and un-noteworthy.

Everything is average and normal.

But God wants us to see the world through the eyes of a child. We should have this same awe and wonder at creation. We need to pull our noses out of the books and newspapers. We need to lift our heads out from behind our computer screens and see the world that God has fashioned and created for each one of us.

And while this is an occasional fix for the world about us, the real tragedy is that this lack of interest and wonder is also found in our Christian lives. We look at Christ and are bored with the same stories told each and every Sunday. We hear the stories of the Old Testament and yawn.

They are not real to us.

But how can they be boring? How can they be mundane? And though we may have heard the stories multiple times, let’s remind ourselves.

The being we call God, beyond all and infinite, created every blade of grass and clod of dirt. Every single thing in the vast universe. And he came in power, to the awe of those who saw him, as fire and smoke in the Old Testament. This God became a man. Died. And now wants an intimate relationship with us for some peculiar reason—because Lord knows there really isn’t anything we have done that makes us so special that God would want us.

How is this reality not awe-striking and mouth-dropping? The first time my daughter heard the stories of the Bible, she was struck with amazement. I could see it in her eyes.

Everything around her, from creation, the simple joys of an average everyday life, and the God that she loves and who love’s her is amazing. It can be seen in her face. It can be seen in her actions. It can be seen in her words.

I think Jesus may have intended this quality about children when He said that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven.

He wants us to be excited, filled with wonder and awe at the gifts he has made specifically for you and I.

May God open our eyes to the world around us and the truths of His nature and fill us with awe and wonder like that of a child saying, “Father, Father, that’s amazing! Wow! You are so amazing.”

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  • Dude,

    I have a few students in the youth group I help minister to that have highly functional retardation. I tell you that because I decided to take 7 of the youth to a judgement house (a cheesy drama that depicts life situation and eventually you either go to heaven or hell… this is done with a walk through tour). Well one of the youth I mentioned earlier went. I was a little apprehensive but He did really well. Every scene we walked through really came to life to him. To me the acting was terrible and the message was watered down. When it was time to walk into "heaven" His EYES WERE HUGE!!!! He gasp at the greatness of "heaven" and being in the presence of "Jesus"… He was almost in tears and so much Joy just overcame him. IT was truly a blessing to see.

    It is so hard sometimes to maintain that childlike faith. This trip I took was such a fresh reminder at what Christ has done and I saw it through the eyes of someone we deem "handicap".

    Once again Jon… Thanks for your insight and your thoughts. God is using you…. Praise to Him!!!

  • Kayla

    Jon, I loved this article! working with children is a constant reminder to stop and stand in amazement at the glory of God. We get so overwhelmed in our adult lives and completely forget the beauty and magnificence of our savior. Again, great article, sharing.. now!

  • Jonathandkeck

    There is something about children that crushes and heart and wells my eyes full of tears. There is something about their honesty and their vision of the world that exudes holiness. God loves it. I want to be overwhelmed with the presence and reality of Jesus Christ standing next to me. I want to be more sensitive to the reality that, in not some cartoon fairy-tale or fuzzy dream but in a very real and physical way, I will be standing before Christ—terrified or overjoyed. Hopefully the latter as I learn to live my life more and more for him. Thanks for your thoughts Shawn! Always thoughtful and worthwhile!

  • Jonathandkeck

    So true Kayla! The business becomes all that we know. I have to confess. I am probably the busiess person around (at least that I know of). And when things calm down. When summer hits and there is nothing to do, I feel empty. Why? Because I fill my soul and life with the clutter of “doing things.” But I tend to not let the things that I am doing fill my soul. I wonder if others fill this way. Thanks for your thoughts and of course your sharing—always cool!

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