Why I Don’t Want to Grow Up Too Big

July 27, 2012 | 19 comments


“I asked for wonder, and He gave it to me.

A Philistine will stand before a Claude Monet painting and pick his nose; a person filled with wonder will stand there fighting back the tears.

By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blase’ and worldly-wise and sophisticated. We no longer run our fingers through water, no longer shout at the stars or make faces at the moon. …

There was a time in the not too distant past when a thunderstorm caused grown men to shudder and feel small. But God is being edged out of His world by science. The more we know about meterology, the less inclined we are to pray during a thunderstorm. …

Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter — in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblown hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us.”

~ Brennan Manning
The Ragamuffin Gospel




The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
~ Psalm 19:1-4

by | July 27, 2012 | 19 comments


  1. Wendy Paine Miller

    I thank God often for this, that He’s blessed me with a sense of wonder. I still stand still, amazed at the shape of the moon, the color of clouds, and the kindness of strangers. Love these things I see in wonder. May they only increase.
    ~ Wendy

    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Oooo. I like that. Being in wonder over the kindness of strangers … Yes.

  2. Nancy Franson

    When our kids were young, we dragged them up, down, over, and through many of our country’s national parks. They didn’t always appreciate all the hiking. And there are a lot of things I didn’t get quite right as a parent. But this one, I think we did. I am so grateful that my kids have developed a sense of appreciation for wonder. My son has been known to drag me outside silently just to show me a star-filled sky.

  3. Susan

    Gorgeous, Jennifer. I felt very small this morning in the midst of a magnificent VA sunrise. Our God is so far beyond anything we can conceive. I stand amazed in His presence.

    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Yes, Susan. Just now, your words bring to mind the song, and I’m humming it now: I stand amazed in the presence …

  4. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    Beautiful, Jennifer, and I love the way our God reveals Himself to us in matter.

    I will say, though, that I don’t understand Mr. Manning’s quote, at least this bit:
    “But God is being edged out of His world by science.”

    He gave us the capacity for science, just like he gave us this beautiful world to go explore. He wrote the laws of gravity as surely as He wrote the 10 commandments.

    There is room for a both/and view here, I hope.

    Learning the scientific underpinnings to a thunderstorm (i.e., HOW God brings one to us) increases my sense of wonder, it doesn’t dull it.

    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Thank you, Sheila. So true … Elsewhere in the paragraphs, Mr. Manning does speak about how “the new can amaze us” … re: the new discovery, etc. “Till tomorrow, till the new becomes old, till yesterday’s wonder is discarded or taken from granted.”

      Thank you, Sheila.

  5. Colleen

    Love Brennan Manning! I think we need to just be still more and actually see the beauty around us. And view life more like children-who haven’t seemed to lose the wonder in a flower. I do think though, too, that science doesn’t always drown out God. I remember learning about mitochondria in college biology and being just totally blown away by God’s creation all over again.

    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      I agree. Science is part of the wonder. And Brennan Manning says so, too, in this same stretch of paragraphs, which I quoted only in part. (I thought I ought to mention that here, in fairness to Mr. Manning.) Thank you, Colleen.

  6. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, thanks for offering quotes which can encourage our further reading. I’ve never read Manning, and certainly know of him. What a wonderful reminder that the heavens declare the glory of God–His wonder majestically displayed in the infinite (like fathomless ocean and sky and space) and the infinitessimal (think atoms and ants). Like your other readers, I thought that science, in fact, is catching up with its Creator! Think of what the Hubble telescope has revealed–the glory of God magnificently on display! Science only underscores God’s greatness. I’d recommend to your readers a wonderful new devo book called The Heavens: Intimate Moments with Your Majestic God by Kevin Hartnett. The real photos of the heavens combined with scriptural truth are literally awesome–wondrous! I also like that Manning mentioned Monet. Man’s creativity can reflect our Creator. We saw Monet’s Agapanuthus triptych of ethereal water lilies recently at our St. Louis art museum. All 3 paintings, side by side, were a seamless, lyrical lake, and we stood awash in a pastel paradise, nearly submerged in their luminscent liquidity. Monet painted these in juxtaposition to the destructive turbulence of WWI. In a world still terrorized by tumult, Monet reminds us of the God of beauty and peace and wonder–if we will but have eyes to see! Bless you, Jennifer, for always opening our eyes to wonder!

  7. kelli

    I’m right in the middle of this very book! Thanks for your fantastic pic and all the ways you refresh the weary here, friend.

  8. Kristin

    I love being filled with wonder! We have the most breathtaking sunsets we see from our backyard. Sometimes, I just stand there in awe, thanking HIM for the beauty. And the roses from my backyard, I’m always cutting them and bringing them into the house, always smelling and smiling at them. I feel sorry for the ones who are not filled with wonder and have no one to thank.

    • Jillie

      I agree. I often wonder, on Thanksgiving especially, just who? are people thanking? If you don’t believe in Creator and Provider of all good gifts…who do you have to give “Thanks” to?
      Just have to add, that oftentimes when my husband and I are watching Science shows, like PBS’s ‘NOVA’, and we see something sooo awesome about the heavens or the earth…we make a joke by saying, “Isn’t ‘evolution’ amazing?” Evolution my Auntie!!! It’s GOD!!!

  9. Elizabeth, wynnegraceappears

    Jennifer, this is such wisdom. If we become callous and numb and unable to be awe-struck then I shutter to think how we would then fail to see, really really see His glory. Thanks for pointing us to HIM. I like Brennan Manning’s words a lot. He is something else all together to read…so deep and meaty. And always fresh.Bless you and your weekend, friend.

  10. Annette

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! I love that God cares so much for us that this is a World of Wonder! A host of opportunities to worship His creation. I enjoyed reading this!

  11. Janet

    The beauty of a butterfly or a brief look at a hummingbird just amazes me!

  12. floyd

    I shudder at the sight of His creation. And I pray when storms are bad… Then again, we have wisdom from Him the lost world doesn’t…


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