My fingers pressed against the cool glass as I waited, the blue salt water just on the other side of the pane. The show wouldn’t start for fifteen minutes, but my family and I had arrived early at my insistence to get the closest spot. Then, he came. Water sloshed over the rim of the glass above me as the whale slowly hovered in place. His body was an unending eight-ton mass of black and white inches from me. Its dorsal fin peeked through the top of the water, the black skin glistening in the sunlight. Awe swept over me. My breath caught in my chest, I was frozen, but delighted. I had never been so close to a creature so magnificent. He so big and I so small. With one swipe of his great fluke, the orca cut through the water leaving me stunned.
My fascination with whales has lasted since I was six or seven years old, and still to this day, I am enamored by their sleek gracefulness and mystique. In truth, I had lived far away from any whales with our two by four foot bathtub being the closest thing I had to an ocean in West Texas. But, Free Willy had left me yearning for the spray of the ocean and the creatures of the deep. I researched them at every opportunity through my youth, determined to understand more about them, but no picture or film could compare with standing inches from the powerful sea creature as a high school kid. What I had once read on a page, I was experiencing in real-life. Its presence evoked a sense of awe in me that I will never shake from my memory because the sense of awe is a powerful thing. When we are in awe, we understand that there is something much bigger and stronger than ourselves, than our own circumstances, than our own lives.
In Acts Chapter 2, Scripture give us a picture of the community in the first church. Tucked away in those lines is this verse:
“And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.”
The early church lived in awe, in a holy fear that compelled them to thrive in a state of reverence and submission to Christ. Their view of God was not restricted to a leather-bound book with printed words or the confines of a church building; Christ was actually in those words. He was actually moving in their hearts and in their lives. Just this morning, God lead me to yet another scripture that describes this holy state of reverence towards God that truly, we should thirst for.
“Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob…”
As a body of believers here in Syracuse, my prayer is that we would be in awe. I want us to breath Him in the fresh chilly air, to marvel at His majesty displayed in the snow-covered mountains, to realize how huge He is in comparison with ourselves. I challenge you to take fifteen minutes and let your mind go there because once you’ve been in the presence of the God of Jacob, awe will overtake you… and awe is such a beautiful thing in the believer.