“How . . . ”

“How wonderful are the things the Lord does!

    All who are delighted with them want to understand them.” (Psalm 111:2)

I was off wandering and playing last week, hence the absence of “Wednesday Wonderings.”  While I was playing with my family we were treated to these amazing spectacles formed with simply water, soap, and the assistance of a little wind blowing through a hoop.  The bubbles lasted for only a few blinks of an eye, just long enough for a fast shutter speed on the camera to capture their fleeting lives in a photo.  Maybe my first thought when I saw the bubbles should have been,        “How . . .?” but it wasn’t.  My first thought was, “Wow!” quickly followed by, “How . . .?”

“How?” and “Wow!” are both very important.  In the psalm I quoted above the “How” is really part of an expression of “Wow!,” but the second phrase implies the “How?” (“All who are delighted with them want to understand them.”)  I guess “Wow!” and “How!” are both essential.  One feels like the stuff of spirituality and the other the stuff of science.  “Wow!” can indicate that I’ve just observed or been part of something that lifts me beyond typical understanding and awareness to a place of transcendence.  “Wow!” can mean I’m playfully brought into a secret that defies my momentary understanding, yet also compelling me to want to ask the, “How?”  When the “How?” is employed it seems to bring me back to a more serious inspection of the situation in effort to understand, recreate, explain, utilize, etc.

In our world today it seems to me that we’re big on “How?” but tend to forget the “Wow!”  As I said earlier, both are essential.  If we get lost in the “How?” without the “Wow!” then we forget that it was the “Wow!” that probably made us want to ask the “How?” in the first place.  If we end the exploration of the “How?” with simply an “Ah ha! or an “I see” without returning to “Wow” then we’ve robbed ourselves of the chance to play with God.  The “Wow!” is that leap into the arms of our dancing God who invites us to join the whirling and twirling of life with exuberance and joy.  “How?” is vitally important, but don’t you have to admit that life’s pretty dull without the “Wow!”?  The “Wow!” also serves as an anchor to remind us that regardless of how much “How?” we understand, we’ll never be able to create the “Wow!”  It is and always will be our loving God who puts the “Wow!” in our “How?”

I pray that God will always help me keep the “Wow!” and the “How?” in proper balance in my life.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,


Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on June 3, 2015.

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