O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
Experience and experts tell us that all human emotions are necessary. Emotions perform different functions for us. Anger gives us strength. You can never slam a door as hard as you do when you’re angry. Joy gives us energy. Jealousy makes us care for and protect someone, like making sure your child doesn’t fall victim to a bully. Sadly, all these emotions have been distorted by sin. Instead of emotions helping us be all that we were meant to be as creatures made in the image of God, instead of helping us be like God – He is perfect in all these emotions – sin has now distorted these emotions to serve our own interests and they have become destructive of ourselves and others. Jealousy is an example of an emotion that has become so distorted by sin most people think jealousy is always bad even though it doesn’t have to be. One of the emotions God created us with that we don’t often think about is awe. Research has shown that the feeling of awe makes us more generous and humble, reduces stress and creates a sense of timelessness. Einstein said that we are as good as dead without it and even the Atheist Richard Dawkins said that awe was one of the highest experiences of the human psyche. Research has shown that awe produces something unique in us. When experiencing awe our awareness expands, our world becomes bigger and – this is the unique feature of awe – we become smaller. Our identities become inconsequential. Awe produces a smaller ‘self’. Secular psychologists recognise that awe occurs in the face of something vast like the stars, or a brilliant piece of music, or a thunderstorm or the birth of a child but they aren’t sure why we have the feeling of awe. What purpose does awe serve? Our text tells us. God created us to stand in awe of Him. When we consider God rightly, when we are confronted with His majesty, when time slows down and we become small and God’s vastness overwhelms us, we experience awe. Awe is a very pleasant experience and there are counterfeit feelings of awe (this is the appeal of some psychedelic drugs), but the truly happy feeling of awe comes from being lost in the contemplation of the Eternal, Majestic, Glorious God. He created us with the capacity to feel awe in order to appreciate Him. He is not selfish, it is for our enjoyment. We feel humbled, less stressed, more generous and more at peace. Today, in all the hustle and bustle of things that are not awesome, look up. Consider again the Timeless Infinite One. Don’t be in awe of what isn’t really awesome. Don’t settle for less. PRAY that God would help you see His majesty in all the earth. Look for it. Find a moment of quiet to adore. And then, enjoy being in awe of Him.