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Putting the 'Awe' Back in Awesome

By Missey Butler
Guest Writer -- I suppose we can safely say, “Spring has officially ‘sprung!’ ” All around us we see the telltale signs of newly budding life as it sleepily awakes from a long winter’s nap. Like the tuning up of a symphony orchestra, Mother Nature anxiously awaits to make her seasonal debut.

The rows and rows of vibrant tulips, the baby robins with their high-pitched chirping, impatient for momma robin to bring them breakfast, the warming rays of the sun, and the sounds of lawn mowers on the move -- all creation is taking center stage in a perfect crescendo of harmony as our favorite season shows off her manifold splendor.

It is truly an awesome sight to behold. Yes, awesome, indeed!

Lately, I’ve been thinking about that word “awesome,” in particular, the little prefix “awe.” I thought to myself, you know, it’s really not even so much a word as it is something we utter when we simply open our mouths and allow sound to move through our lips.

No doubt you’ve heard the term “awe inspiring”? Well, I believe we have somehow lost our inspiration to “awe” in association with the things of God.

Did you know that, historically, some of the more devout men and women of the 1800s actually set aside what we call the “wonder words,” such as “awesome,” “magnificent,” “marvelous,” “resplendent,” and “incredible,” for the express purpose of one thing: to describe God?

They reserved these words to define God and His unending attributes. We need only to look back at some of those famous old hymns and recognize that the authors and lyricists held God in the highest regard and in the holiest revere.

My heart standeth in awe of thy word (Psalm 119:161).

Nowadays, we use the word “awesome” to describe a 99-cent hamburger, or the fact that our favorite sports hero can “palm” a basketball. We toss around the word “marvelous” to describe the appearance of our favorite Hollywood starlet. And we label “incredible” as the last name of a family of animated cartoon superheroes. (Don’t get me wrong, I love The Incredibles!)

The point I’m trying to make is that maybe it’s time for us as a people (and as a nation) to rediscover our wonder words and the meaningful significance they hold.

We don’t have to become legalistic by making new rules about the do’s and don’ts of what words to use or not use. The real issue always boils down to the condition of our hearts anyway. Do we esteem God with a respectful “awe”? Can we say that we revere Him enough to give Him first place in our lives? If so, then we will automatically begin to sense the true awe-inspiring emotion that sums up beautifully our feelings, articulated so well in that little three-letter-word.

Let’s put the awe back where it belongs, in our mouths and in our hearts, as we daily worship and adore our loving God, the Great I AM, whose honor is above all reproach and whose name is above all names!

Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him (Psalm 33:8).

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