We were near the Grand Canyon.
This past year, our band was leading worship for a church in Phoenix when we had this realization — and found out that none of us had ever visited the Canyon for ourselves. So on a whim, we decided to make the quick trip before heading home to Texas.
As we stood around plotting our adventure, a nearby eavesdropper interrupted, “You don’t want to see the Grand Canyon. It’s not that great. It just looks like a painting. Just go check out Sedona, then head home.”
I couldn’t help but wonder if we were about to drive hours out of the way just to be disappointed. In the end, we succumbed to our fear of missing out, and decided to do both. The next morning, we made our way to the Grand Canyon by way of Sedona.
And we did not regret it.
Find Breathtaking Grandeur
As soon as we could see Sedona in the distance, we couldn’t help but stop every few seconds to take pictures. Every corner revealed a new angle of breathtaking grandeur. It didn’t matter that we were taking essentially the same picture over and over. We had to take turns driving because none of us could keep our eyes on the road.
I couldn’t bring myself to stop exclaiming, “Wow!” Could there be anywhere on earth more beautiful?
Then we came to the Canyon. I have never seen anything like it. Glorious in every way.
We walked around this huge hole in the ground trying to get a better vantage point to see its glory from another perspective and fall even deeper into a sense of awe and amazement. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face as joy overwhelmed me. It felt transcendent — like I was participating in something much bigger than me, and not about me.
It was just a tiny taste of what God is like, and what eternity with him will be like.
Glimpse the Wonder
Have you ever worried that eternity might be boring because you’re spending forever staring at the same things? Like when you read that the worshipers in heaven never stop shouting, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty!” (Revelation 4:8)?
Will that get old?
It sure doesn’t seem like it! Revelation describes the worship of heaven as a loud, exciting, rowdy, multisensory overload because Jesus is the center of it all, a conquering king whose eyes blaze with fire as a sword protrudes from his mouth. King of Kings and Lord of Lords is written on his thigh (Revelation 19:16), and around his throne are flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, and exquisite colors we have never seen before (Revelation 4:5–6).
Heaven is filled with “Wow!” that never ceases for all eternity, and when we gather to worship, we are invited to get a glimpse of the wonder.
Raise Your Expectations
As we pursue our Lord with all our hearts and minds and strength, he is seeking us out to show himself to us in a way that ought to leave us amazed, longing for every new vantage point of his glory we can experience.
Yet often, rather than immersing ourselves in the wonder of who God is, letting him captivate our imaginations with his majesty, we worship like we are looking at pictures in an old atlas.
We treat worship like that man who said the Grand Canyon really isn’t that great, and settle for watching at a distance, gaining intellectual knowledge apart from intimacy, or having an emotional experience apart from a life submitted to his authority.
But God is not interested in empty words sung from far-off hearts — no matter how profoundly deep or theologically accurate. Similarly, he is not interested in all of our crying, shouting, warm fuzzies, and goose bumps, unless they are tethered to the truth of his word, will, and ways.
He is too good for half-hearted worship, too awesome for emotional gibberish. He wants all of us. He deserves all of us.
Stand in Awe
This weekend in corporate worship — or this moment over your Bible — you have the opportunity to gaze upon the infinite, unparalleled glory of God. To seek him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and to let him captivate your affections, intellect, and allegiance.
Why would you settle for “just doing church” when you could stand in awe? Why would you settle for mumbling through words with your hands in your pocket, when wonder is to be had? Why just sing, when you can see and savor?
We find many things in this world amazing, yet we are far too easily satisfied. Far too easily distracted by lesser things.
The one true God is inviting you to see him and stand amazed. Don’t miss out on the “Wow!” There is more than enough at the foot of the cross.