When you become a grandparent, you cannot help but see things differently. Our first step on the road to maturity is a sudden awakening to the fact that the world is not always a good place. Then, after decades of trying to get a handle on the presence of evil in a universe over which God is sovereign, a grandchild brings you full circle again. As you gather that little one into your arms, suddenly glimmer s of something you lost a long time ago flicker in the corner of your mind’s eye. And if you don’t look too hard, you’ll discover it’s the precious, fleeting quality of childlike wonder.
Remember childlike wonder? Puppets really talk. The department store Santa travels all the way from the North Pole just to visit your town. Uncle Bob truly ca n pull a quarter from someone’s ea r and Daddy is, in fact, larger than life. And God really did create the universe, which He continues to watch over wit h fatherly interest. But something sad, yet necessary happened. We grew up to see the world as it really is. We learned the u n happy truth behind puppets and cheap Santa costumes. Sleight of hand tricks no longer mesmerize and Daddy came down to size all too quickly. And, then . . . what of God? In the process of g rowing up, have we abandoned the very quality that Jesus said we must have if we are to embrace His kingdom (Matt. 18:4; Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17)?
In the early 1920s, humanity enjoyed a few fleeting moment s of childlike wonder when Edwin Hubble pointed the world’s largest telescope toward a dim portion of the sky and made a startling disc over y. Until then, everyone thought the universe was limited to our own Milky Way galaxy. Hubble’s research proved otherwise. What were once thought to be distant stars turned out to be galaxies, many thousands of them. Suddenly, the universe was a great deal bigger, humankind looked a great deal less knowledgeable, and, for a moment — a precious, fleeting moment — humankind gazed with childlike wonder at the magnificence of God’s creation.
Unfortunately, our brush with innocence did not last. As humankind has done for countless millennia, we traded childlike wonder for something easier to manage: the visible for the invisible. And, all at once, our fleeting encounter with truth gave way to a long series of big bang theories and something-from-nothing speculations.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – Romans 1:20-21
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About Charles Swindoll
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the clear, practical teaching and application of God's Word. He currently pastors Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and serves as the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. His renowned Insight for Living radio program airs around the world. Chuck and Cynthia, his partner in life and ministry, have four grown children and ten grandchildren.