Americans will spend a little under a trillion dollars attempting to capture the magical feeling of the holidays with lights, presents, Hallmark movies, lattes and endless looping Mariah Carey songs. Christmas for a lot of people seems to be an emotional experience we attempt to purchase with money.
This is the reverse of the Christian experience of wonder.
Wonder is an experience that comes from encountering the miracle of Jesus.
You do not have to manufacture the feeling – it just happens. Wonder and fullness are the natural response to the knowledge of Jesus.
Craig Spencer is a former police officer in Roseburg Oregon, who worked for 15 years in narcotics enforcement. After leaving the police force became a truck driver, after 6 months he began to lose his vision to macular degeneration.
He became legally blind, went on disability and was sent to the Oregon Commission of the Blind to receive training for functional blind living.
During that season, he met a woman named Wendy who dragged him to church. At church he heard the message of Jesus and became a believer.
In 2001 he attended a men’s retreat with a theme of cleansing the mind. He was eager to go because he was haunted by the images of 15 years of work in drug enforcement.
At the retreat the teacher felt led to set aside his lesson and lead the men in a song, asking them to sing until it became the prayer of their heart.
Craig prayed, “Lord cleanse my mind” and in his mind heard the response, “you’re clean.”
The next thing he knew his eyes were open and he was reading an exit sign across the room. His vision had been restored.
He went outside and looked over the parking lot, going from car to car reading license plates with more enthusiasm than anyone in the history of the world.
For days, Craig looked around saying over and over again, “I can see that. I can see that.”
When he reported to the state that he no longer needed disability – an investigation was opened to determine if he had committed fraud.
The paperwork involved in the investigation which cleared him of fraud is available online, including the letters of diagnosis from Optometrist and Ophthalmologist. Dr. Bradley Seely of Umpqua Valley Eye Associates summarized his evaluation of Spencer’s recovery as “a remarkable return of visual acuity.”
The experience of wonder is the natural byproduct of knowing Jesus.
We’ve seen it week after week in the gospel of Mark. Jesus changes everything.
Today in Mark 8 we’re going to see the wonder of Jesus’ love, the mystery of his ways and the unfolding of his glory.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown