The Awe Factor

Last month, I Instagrammed the photo above. I was in Australia, and the sun was rising to a new day in the land Down Under. Soon after, my husband Kyle commented: “That must be part of the same sunset I’m seeing right now!”

I shivered. He was watching the sun being pulled down our global orb over in Oregon, and I was watching the same star being stretched up on the other side. 15 time zones away, and I was starting a new day when his day was ending back in time. It kinda made my brain explode.

The day before, I went SCUBA diving in the Great Barrier Reef. I saw single fish bearing multiple neon colors; I touched the velvet soft of the interior of a giant clam. These were things most humans don’t see on a daily basis. These colors and textures were not there to serve me.

I then thought about the wombats and the cassowaries and the kangaroos and the koalas and the sea turtles. This island is home to over one million plant and animal species, much of it native only to Australia.

Scientists guess there are somewhere between three and 30 million animal species on our planet. Many have yet to be discovered.

And then I watched this in my hotel room later that night, tucked away in the Australian rainforest. And I worshipped God:

His creativity, His hugeness, His omnipotence knows no bounds.

In what ways does God’s handiwork give you pause to worship? What’s the most spectacular piece of creation you’ve ever seen?

  • Robin Dance

    I had never seen Chan’s video before, and, ummm…yeah…it blew my mind. I don’t know whether to bless you or curse you, Tsh, for scrambling my brain so early in the morning :). Amazing.

    The most spectacular piece of creation I’ve ever seen was each of my babies the moment after their birth. I don’t mean to sound trite but at the time I wanted to scream to anyone within hearing distance DO YOU SEE THIS MIRACLE????

    Snow-capped peaks of towering Alps…sun breaking over the ocean…the force and fury of a waterfall…gossamer threads of a spider’s web…the penitent hands of a praying mantis….

    I guess Creation is kinda like a bag of Lays Chips to me…it’s impossible for me to choose just ONE :).

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I love that, Robin. At church yesterday, a woman said that every time she gives birth, she’s awe-fully aware of how she just partnered with God. I love that.

      And I agree—so many amazing things in creation, which is another one of its majesties… it never ends.

  • SnoWhite @ Finding Joy in My Kitchen

    As a scientist myself, the awe-inspiring nature of God’s creation is what got me into studying all that He has made. Romans 1:20 guides my study, and I LOVE being able to catch glimpses of his invisible qualities through my study of ecology. My best “awe” moment — flying at 23,000 feet right next to Denali on a clear day. Absolutely stunning.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Incredible! I’d love to visit Alaska one day.

      I remember being on a plane near the Afghanistan-Pakistan-China border, and seeing the Gobi desert out of one window (flat as a pancake) and K2 in the other (only the second highest mountain in the world). INCREDIBLE.

  • Lisa

    That is pretty profound…watching the sunrise while your husband watched the sunset. I also see that as a bonding experience despite the miles. Truly awe inspiring. That little video clip just made my jaw drop. It is so jaw dropping. Thanks for sharing this…

  • Beth Williams

    My pieces of creation are sunrises & sets over the Smoky Mountains. I love just sitting on my porch listening to & watching all of God’s animals as they hum, buzz & fly around. Neat to see a bat fly over now & then also.

    The most beautiful awe was seeing the Grand Canyon & hiking some of it! That just takes your breath away!@

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I’ve honestly never been to the Grand Canyon! Would love to one day.

  • Renee

    After an extremely stressful and busy two year period of time volunteering for my professional organization, my husband and I promised each other the trip of a lifetime as a reward for my hard work and the countless hours taken away from “us”. We joined two other couples and took a cruise to Alaska.

    The magnificence of God’s glory in creation was something I had never experienced in this magnitude. From the pure blue of the ocean and the various whales and sea creature to the glaciers and mountains, I felt such awe, respect and gratitude for the blessing of witnessing this in person. I don’t know a time in my life of having this type of indescribable feelings throughout my soul and senses. Even at midnight when the sun was just starting to contemplate setting for a couple of hours! The clean air, the richness of color, the unspoiled beauty, the earthiness and “real people”. Truly a gift!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Sounds amazing!

  • Amanda

    I always love making the flight between Seattle and my home in Eastern Washington. It’s a short flight, so the plane is only at cruising altitude for a little while, but on a clear day you can watch the state’s topography change before your very eyes. I spend most of the flight with my nose pressed against the window, watching the landscape transition from the sparkling waters of Puget Sound, to the snowcapped volcanic peaks of Mt. Rainier and the Cascade mountain range, to the quilted farmland spreading east towards the ponderosa pine-covered mountains of the Idaho panhandle. I always thank God for blessing me with such a beautiful state to call home :)

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Yes, the entire Pacific Northwest is pretty astounding, isn’t it? As a native Texan, my mind is regularly blown around each bend and corner. :)

  • Kerry @ Made For Real

    So amazing. Breath-taking. I’ve seen this before but it never gets dull or boring, does it?

  • http://incourage Gay

    On my first trip to Colorado Springs, never hardly ever having left Texas, I was dismayed as we arrived late dusk to not see the “Rockies” . My sister, Joy, promised a short wait. She said “just wait till morning” and they’ll show up.

    When I woke early the next morning, and walked in her back yard, “purple mountain majesty” in all His glory stood before me. I found tears came at how awesome is His majesty.

    But I’ve learned to slow down because while the “Rockies” are truly majestic – no place greater than I’ve found Him than in my precious 4 grandchildren, Abcde, Payton, Cutter and Hadley. The best reflections of Him I’ve found. Truly the greatest creations of all….

  • Jolene

    My special moment was when I visited Montana for the first time. My husband and I were celebrating our 25th anniversary and we got in late at night to our cabin. About 3am I got up to go to the bathroom and looked out the window. The moon was shinning on the Yellow Stone River that was right outside a couple of yards. It looked like the childhood story about gold shinning in the water. (At this moment the tiltle eludes me) It was a full moon and very gorgeous. I thank the Lord for getting us there safely and for the beauty that was all around us. That moment has never left me.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Montana is amazing! My sister-in-law lives there. Beautiful rivers, mountains, plains… it has it all.

  • Marie Krum

    The most awe inspiring experience of my life was celebrated in reverent silence with a group of strangers as we saw a spectacular sun set over the majestic Grand Canyon. After about twenty watchful minutes of utter worship, unbidden tears came to my eyes as I heard my youngest daughter whisper, ” Do it again, Daddy. Do it again.”

  • Marla Taviano

    Giraffes!! They’ve got God written all over ‘em.

  • Phyllis

    Everytime I see a storm coming in off Lake Michigan or at a grander scale the Pacific Ocean I feel, I see, I hear God’s greatness! As far as spectacular creation – hands down – creation of life – my 3 children and soon to be 9th Grandchild.

  • Kate

    Beautiful picture, Tsh :)

    Yes, I remember watching this Chan video when my husband and I read Crazy Love….or was it Forgotten God? One of those! Such a great video. Louie Giglio has a video out called ‘Indescribable’….where he talks about the universe and such – it’s awesome.

    I hope you have a great…joy-filled week, Tsh!

    – Kate :)

  • karen

    Standing atop a mountain, whether in Israel or Ireland or North Carolina. I feel like God built them just to show me the world. And yes, to our babies being born… when they first opened their eyes and their mouths for me, a divine sight.

  • Mrs. Luttrell

    That makes me think of the MIB movie that shows the aliens playing with marbles that are galaxies… God is AW-MAZING. I’m actually glad our brain cannot fathom his greatness.

  • Mary Carver

    Oh, that gives me chills, Tsh. The sunset, not the video. Although, yes, the video too, but I’d watched it before. ANYWAY. I love this – I love remembering that this beauty I’m surrounded by every single day? It isn’t there to serve me. That’s, well, I don’t know. It’s hard to wrap my mind around. I guess it just makes me even more thankful that God shares His creation with me.

  • Celeste Vaughan

    So many things I am in awe over when it comes to God’s creation. I read Crazy Love about a year ago, and it definitely is a book that changes your perspective on life. One of God’s creation that gets quite a bit of awe from me is the human brain. I blogged about it recently…check out this post for just a glimpse of how amazing He created our brains…

    Love your blog!
    Blessings to you!

  • Anonymous

    While my grilled cheese was cooking on the stove I walked over to the back screen door that leads to our deck. I was admiring all the pretty flowers my husband planted in their pots and suddenly a hummingbird flew up. I watched in awe as I said out loud Thank you Jesus as this amazing creature flew carefully around the flowers gently sticking it’s head in each of the flowers looking for something sweet. I couldn’t help but to keep saying awe out load and then all of a sudden he flew over to the sliding glass door in direct eye level as he was staring right at me. For a short moment the glass was the only thing separating us, it was as if Jesus was saying your welcome ;)