by Dr. Stan Hudson, Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference
Have you ever been amazed? I mean, have you ever seen something and the only expression that can come to mind is…“Wow!” Steph Curry hits a 37—foot jumper, nothing but net. Pat Mahomes eludes seemingly dozens of defenders, Corey Seager hits a 100 mph fastball 450 feet. Amazing!
I have only been to one Broadway-style musical, but there was one I had to go to. While pastoring in Spokane, “Fiddler on the Roof” came to a local venue and featured the 1971 film’s original star, Chaim Topol. When he sang “If I Were a Rich Man…all day long I’d bidi-bidi-bum.” Wow! And when he sang “Sunrise, Sunset” about the years rolling by and his daughters growing up…well, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. Absolutely amazing. A standing ovation was the result.
Since we are created in the image of God, we can assume that our feelings are feelings that He also experiences. God can be amazed, too. However, we often think that to be amazed there has to be an element of surprise in it. Not so! All of the examples I gave above were very anticipatable. Even though you expected something awesome, when it does actually arrive…it can still be amazing to see.
With that in mind, did you ever think about how God experiences amazement?
During my morning devotionals I noticed from the gospels that Jesus displayed amazement at times. You might even say that Jesus could join us in expressing “wow” at the things He saw in His ministry. And like us, He was amazed at negatives things, and at other times He was amazed at positive things.
An example of a negative time was when He healed a man’s hand on Sabbath and saw the attitude of the religious leaders who were present. Mark 3:4,5: “Then He said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.” It was a hard thing to comprehend for the Lord. Why would someone oppose a healing act of mercy, especially on Sabbath? It didn’t compute! At its core, their mischaracterization of God and His willingness to heal was astounding to the Savior. There was no faith and to see it in person was amazing.
So, let’s get personal. Has my or has your attitude about God’s character ever surprised God? Have we ever doubted His willingness to heal, to answer prayers, to meet needs? As a pastor, I wonder if there were many times when I “should have known better?”
On the other hand, there were times when Jesus was genuinely amazed by a person’s faith. Remember the Centurion’s request, the one where he sought Jesus to heal his beloved servant? Matthew 8:5-13 records the story. The Roman officer knew all about authority and recognized that Jesus had it. He knew Jesus could order the miracle, even from distance. Such faith brought this response from Jesus: “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed,
‘Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!’” Matthew 8:10. When Jesus saw faith like this, which had at its core a correct understanding of God’s character (to put it in today’s vernacular, “somebody finally has got it!”), Jesus was amazed and pleasantly soSince I seriously doubt that angels in heaven do anything more than yawn at Steph Curry’s shots or Patrick Mahomes’ skills, I would love to do something that can bring a “wow” from heaven’s courts. That is, a positive one, of course!
Dear Lord, when I am around Jesus, let my actions show that I have faith to move mountains. May I show that I “get it” about your loving character and desire to answer my requests for help and healing. May I believe so strongly in my Savior’s authority and power that it brings a “wow” of approval. Grant me, Lord, that kind of faith!