The Gift of Being Awe-struck

Tim BrusterAs I prepare for this week’s continuation of our “Gifts of the Dark Wood” Lenten worship series with “The Gift of Being Awe-struck,” I can’t help but think about the times in my own life when I felt awe-struck.

You know the kind of moment I’m talking about: When a sudden flash of insight or awareness, seemingly coming out of nowhere, changes your understanding of your world and what’s in it — and you remain changed from that point on. These pivot points in life can be simple, expected, or unexpected. The way you recognize them is they contain a sudden and profound “flash” that heralds the unmistakable experience of God in your life. For me the greatest of these moments would be meeting Susan, when each of my daughters were born, seeing my grandchildren for the first time, and my call to ministry. 

Think about how we tend to describe these powerful moments. The 37th chapter of Job describes this awe-struck feeling using metaphors of thunder and lightning: “the thunder of his voice” and “the lightnings when his voice is heard.” In the same way, we so often describe these moments in our lives when we are filled with an experience of the Divine as a “flash” of insight or awareness, “seeing the light,” or being “thunderstruck.”

And of course, when “God thunders wondrously with his voice,” we are filled with awe and appreciation: “At this also my heart trembles, and leaps out of its place.” We are filled with the sudden awareness of “great things that we cannot comprehend.”

In his book, “Gifts of the Dark Wood,” Eric Elnes reflects on the many questions he has encountered from people asking why God doesn’t speak to people “like in the Bible” anymore. “Yet,” he writes, “everyone with whom I’ve conversed for more than a few minutes has spoken of times when ‘the lightbulb comes on,’ an ‘aha moment’ or ‘moment of clarity’ when something ‘clicked into place’ to impact their life’s direction in some way.”  

As we saw a couple of weeks ago when we considered Elijah’s experience of God’s message coming through to him in an almost indescribable “still, small voice” or “the sound of sheer silence,” when we talk of God “speaking” to us, we almost always mean something other than an audible voice. “While the Bible is full of ‘God talk,’” Elnes writes, “its authors were trying to convey what was ‘heard’ internally when the lightning hit.”

Questions to ponder this week are: what are those awe-struck moments in your life? What was the gift contained within them? What has that realization meant to your faith and life’s direction?

I look forward to exploring the Gift of Being Awe-struck with you this Sunday!

Grace and Peace,




Dr. Tim Bruster,
Senior Pastor


Psalm 8
O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. 
    Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
    to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
    mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Job 37:1-5
“At this also my heart trembles,
    and leaps out of its place.
Listen, listen to the thunder of his voice
    and the rumbling that comes from his mouth.
Under the whole heaven he lets it loose,
    and his lightning to the corners of the earth.
After it his voice roars;
    he thunders with his majestic voice
    and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
    he does great things that we cannot comprehend.



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