Skip to content

The Power of Wondering

There once was a little bird living in a large and comfortable cage in a dark room. In the corner he had the food he needed, there were some ledges and swings he could flutter to and colorful toys he could peck with his beak and spend his days looking at. He was comfortable and happy.

Occasionally, he would get some treats and every once in a while the door would open, he would hop on the awaiting finger and get carried around. His favorite place to go when this happened was the big picture window. He would look at the trees and the grass and bemoan the fact that the outdoors were not for him. If only he was made for the beautiful outdoors! He didn't understand his fascination with the outside world and the feeling that would come over him as he stared outside.

                                                   Canva Design DAF6vuK7mto

Invariably, he would be put back in his safe and secure cage. He was glad he had his wings to help him jump a little higher to the ledge and back down. He did what all the other birds he knew did and kept himself busy eating, fluttering, and dutifully playing with his toys. When comfortable in his cage, he rarely thought of the outside world, but every once in a while when he just sat, his mind would wander. He would wonder if the cage was what he was made for and if his wings were only good for the slight flutter required to get to the ledge above. Certainly his wings were made to do grander things? He would wonder at his fascination with the outside world.

And then, when the wondering got too painful, he would once again busy himself with his life of fluttering, eating and playing. He decided his wings were made for the cage and he wasn't suited for the beautiful outside world anyway. Eventually, he quit wondering because he found it much easier to live as he always had. He was a bird after-all and he already knew how birds were meant to live.

How often do we quit wondering and find it easier to live as we always have?

Wondering can be uncomfortable, especially when it involves our faith. Is this all there is? Why are the things I believe not matching my reality? If my life is truly changed, why do I still struggle so much? If God is who He says He is, why is this my experience? If God truly loves me, why does He feel so distant? Where was God when....? If I am doing all the 'right' things, why does my life feel so empty? What am I missing?

We look at ourselves, the promises and our experiences and begin to wonder. We know we must be made for more than the mundane. We are imagers of God and we know it in our deepest places. We think, hope and speculate that a vibrant life with God is possible, but then relegate it to 'not me.' We assume it's for the spiritually elite, the ones who 'get it' or the special. The easiest way to deal with the wondering is to conclude 'not me,' and live life as we always have. Often we take our wondering heart and silence it. When we silence it though, it turns into a little wall of protection that keeps God a little more at bay.

If life is kind of working more or less, why bother ourselves with the questions that haunt us deep down? It's really not that difficult to silence them. We have phones, busyness, our favorite shows, work, good church activities and an endless array of things that can keep wonder at bay and keep us in a more comfortable place. We may know something is amiss but admitting it takes courage and strength. Fears lurk in the back of our mind about what would happen if we allow the wondering to continue. What if I don't find what I'm looking for? What if I find I really am disappointed with God? What if I lose my faith? What if I AM missing something? What if I am not? What if I don't like the answers? 

Little do we know that closing the door on our wondering confines us and keeps us from knowing God more deeply. Wondering is often an open doorway. What we mistake as danger of the unknown can often be the very doorway that leads to freedom. It is a door God is inviting us through.

                                                Canva Design DAF6wBHB_5g

In reality, unsilenced wondering is the doorway to a deeper life to God. It is often His call to our dry and thirsty hearts. It's His invitation to us for something more with Him. His invites are rarely comfortable but are always roads to freedom and knowing Him more. 

David was 'a man after God's own heart' and the Psalms are filled with his wonderings. John the Baptist wondered while he was in prison awaiting his death. The Pharisees were resolute and closed off their wondering for the hard and fast rules they were certain they thought they knew, but in reality did not understand.

I used to be afraid of wondering. I was afraid that somehow the wondering was doubt at best or disloyalty at worst. I was afraid to find that not only did I THINK God was disappointing, I would find out He actually WAS disappointing. I was afraid to even admit to myself that after years of following Jesus, what I knew in my head to be true often did not seem true to my heart. Not only that, but through conversations with others, I found I was not the only one. 

I am learning that wondering is the doorway to growth. The gaps are often exact spaces where God wants to move next in my life. The wonderings remind me my wings weren't made for a cage and if I go to God, He gradually begins to make sense of them. The wondering is often an awakening to what is really true.

In order to go to God though, we have to believe, at least a little bit, that He really is good and loves to meet us where we are. We have to believe that He really is all-wise and knows exactly what to do with us. We have to know that there is not a part of us that is hidden from Him or confusing to Him. We have to be able to trust Him just the slightest bit with our heart and know that the God who knows us best loves us most. God can work with a tiny amount of (faith) trust and grow it. The words faith and trust can often be used interchangeably. Hebrews 11:5 (NIV)  says, "But without faith (trust) it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him."

Earnestly seeking Him means bringing our wonderings to Him. It means trusting Him enough to know that He really is good enough to show us Himself and even though we may not get every answer we are looking for, He will always give us Himself and a deeper depth with Him. It's trusting Him enough to know that He always has our good in mind and he has not left us on our own, but is always drawing us closer to Himself. God can be trusted with our wondering. In fact, our wonderings are often whispers from God to lead us to freedom.

What about you? Is there any wondering in your heart that may be a doorway to something deeper with God?