Emerald still has a fascination with bubbles. Every day she asks if we can blow them, and each time it’s as if she’s never seen them before. She “stands amazed,” which for her means an open mouth and a wildly-waving right hand. As bubbles swirl around her, joy bubbles out of her.
Once in a while, though, a stray bubble pops in the wrong place – not on her nose or forehead (which she loves) but in her eye. She crumples to the ground in tears, rubbing her face and hollering at high decibel. “The bubble hurt Emerald! The bubble hurt Emerald!”
So we pray and ask for things he’s encouraged us to ask for – protection from evil, strength to endure temptation, life-guidance through prayer. We have confidence in his amazing power and expect him to act on our behalf. Then suddenly a situation arises that makes us raise our eyebrows at him. We might be left unprotected and become injured; maybe we fail at resisting temptation and give in; or he might seem silent when we desperately need his help making a decision.
And suddenly our bubble of amazement pops – bringing a hurtful sting. Our faith crumples, and we cry, “Lord, you hurt me! You hurt me!” Who would stand in awe of that?
There’s a wonderful old hymn that includes these lyrics: “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean.”
It continues: “How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be! How marvelous, how wonderful, is my Savior’s love for me!”
It’s easy to smile as we sing those words, nodding affirmation and feeling his love. But when life goes awry or gets really hard, our raised eyebrows quickly form a frown, and we feel like wagging a finger at God. Instead of amazement, we want to lay blame.
The truth is, we don’t understand why the Lord does what he does any more than Emerald understands why soapy water creates her beloved bubbles.
And maybe that’s exactly what’s at the heart of her amazement. Because she doesn’t understand it, she’s in awe of it. And though a bubble in the eye is a set-back, her fascination doesn’t diminish, and the expectancy of joy quickly returns.
Even as the sting lingers, she jumps to her feet. “More bubbles? More?” Her mouth drops open, her right hand starts waving, and once again she stands amazed.
Can we say the same about God?
They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything [Jesus] does is wonderful.” (Mark 7:37)