How do we amaze God? Can God be amazed by us? We are told that Jesus was amazed on two separate occasions in the scriptures. In one instance He was amazed by the lack of faith. In another He was amazed by the presence of faith. In looking deeper into this conversation today, I was moved by the way in which a lot of the activity of the Bible around this idea of being amazed, came back to our faith.
But first, in both the Greek and Hebrew there are several words within this concept that we translate into the English word amazed. This discovery inspired curiosity to think about how I have used this word within the context of my own life and experiences. It made me wonder, are there other ways that God is amazed by us? How do we define this compelling word that can be seen in both positive and negative examples as Jesus expressed, regarding our belief or unbelief?
I wanted to imagine what other things could move the heart of God. Is our creativity amazing to our Creator? Does our love for one another amaze God who is love? There is something very relational about this idea of how we sway the heart of God into a state of mind that brings Him something of awe and wonder. One of the Greek words for amaze is exstasis – we see it when Jesus raises a little girl from the dead back to life. Everyone in the room experiences a sense of being amazed. One definition said that it can mean a throwing of the mind out of its normal state and it can be blended with both fear and wonderment. Have you ever experienced that before? Is it hard for us to believe that we have that much of an effect on God’s experiences with us?
So often I think we make the assumption, if God is all knowing, He must not be fully present in our reality with us. He, in some way, is outside of the experience or indifferent. But we know that we have the Spirit of God in us, making us one with Him. When we move in the wisdom He’s given, or the inspiration He’s seeded in our hearts, could that be a place of awe? When we operate in the fruit of the Spirit, does His heart swell with wonder? Is this the art of collaborating with God that He marvels at?
When I was looking through the Bible to see where there are places of us co-creating with God or collaborating with Him, I continued to be brought back to this question of amazement. In each place of scripture where I landed, faith was a huge part of partnering with God to the point where we see Him moved or unmoved. It led me to sit with this idea of the role faith has in each of our lives and in our relationship with Him. When we have faith it seems that we are collaborating with God in a way that moves His heart and life and creation happens. Amazement happens.
Two moments of amazement occur simultaneously in Mark 6 when Jesus is teaching and healing in his hometown, the people were amazed in a negative way. They were explesso, which means to strike out, to strike with panic, or to strike out in amazement. They can’t believe what they are seeing and hearing and they are caught up in unbelief. Jesus reacts to their unbelief by saying He was amazed by it. This word is thaumazo, which means to wonder, marvel or be surprised by. He can no longer continue to create in this place and moves on.
In Matthew 8, the faith of a Roman officer causes Jesus to be amazed, thaumazo, to the point where He declares He has not seen any belief like this in all of Israel. We see a miracle unfold as Jesus heals a man paralyzed and in pain without being present. He tells the officer it was his belief that did this. His trust was the thing that collaborated with God to allow healing and life to be released. In either instance of this idea of amazement – we are collaborating in creating or un-creating with Him.
As I leaned into this place today, I realized even as an artist there is a level of trust and belief in myself that I am partnering with before creativity happens. I have to trust an inspired thought or idea for it to become a thing. The power of faith and trust in ourselves, in others and in God, seems to be the birth place of life and creation. So what are you carrying inside you that you can believe in today and start creating? And as you lean in, anticipate the amazement that will unfold around you as you collaborate with Him.