In the church, being youthful doesn’t always seem like a noble aspiration. After all, christian maturity is often expressed in terms like wisdom, discernment, and perseverance. We call the mature disciples in the church, saints. Plus, a healthy marriage and family are often touted as the pinnacle of Christian success. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with any of these things and they’re definitely worth our pursuit, but could all of this talk be at the detriment of promoting a youthful wonder in the church?
Here’s what I mean. Remember when you were in first grade and the thing that captured your mind for weeks was the brilliance of ants and ant colonies? You were dumbfounded how tiny creatures like ants could build vast empires underground with a clear government and distribution of roles. Or maybe you didn’t like dirt, so you spent months voraciously devouring anything related to dinosaurs. Jurassic Park was your favorite movie and you couldn’t get to the library enough to check out all their dinosaur picture books. Maybe I’m alone here, but in my youth, my imagination and wonder was wild. I would make the biggest deal about the littlest things, just because. Just because they were infinitely interesting and I couldn’t wrap my tiny mind around it.
I wonder if our pursuit of Christian maturity has left our youthful wonder about God a thing of the past? I remember the days when I first came to believe the Gospel. I’d be stunned to silence about what Jesus did on the cross, for days. I had a billion questions about who God was and why God did what He did. I couldn’t get enough of my Bible, I couldn’t be in enough Bible studies, and I wanted to be at church all day on Sundays. I hate to admit it, but somewhere down the line, as I began to understand the Gospel more in depth, began to read theological books without needing a dictionary, began leading people in their faith, graduated from seminary, and served as a pastor and shepherd in Jesus’ church, I seem to have lost that youthful wonder about God. He’s someone I can explain now. He’s someone I teach about. My mind’s been able to grasp the glories of the Gospel. And that youthful wonder, the arresting brilliance of who Jesus is, has lost its grip on me.
Reading through the Acts of the Apostles has jolted my spirit though. Page after page is about the crazy, unexpected, and powerful work of God through His church. We need a little more of this in our church today. We need to remember how big God is and stand there like a little kid, jaws dropped, arms limp, and eyes wide open, marveling at the indescribable work of God. I want to worship a God who’s bigger than me and I bet you do to.