Skip to main content

Astonished

Astonish: to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise and wonder; amaze.

When was the last time that you were really and truly astonished? I'll be honest: I can't remember. I know I've been surprised, amazed, startled but a full and complete astonishment seems a little outside my realm of emotion. I take a lot for granted, I know, and maybe should be astonished a little more often at the wonders that surround me.
In his Gospel, Mark describes several individuals who were "amazed," "astonished," or who "did marvel" because of the works of Christ. When Christ forgave a man his sins and then healed him of the palsy, the onlookers were "all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." (Mark 4:12). Beyond mere surprise, these witnesses recognized the miracle Christ had done, and looked to God with wonder and rejoicing.
Later in Mark's Gospel, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. Mark says that those who watched were "astonished with a great astonishment." (Mark 5:42). Of course any of us would be astonished if we saw someone rise from the dead, but I think this goes a little deeper. Perhaps when the girl's parents and Jesus' disciples saw this miracle, they realized to some degree Jesus' power and divinity and were astonished that a Being so mighty had come to dwell among them.

At other times however, those who followed Jesus were shockingly apathetic. In the account of Jesus feeding the five thousand and the seven thousand, Mark makes no mention of any uproar or strong emotions. It seems as if the people were hungry, food appeared, and so they ate it. No more and no less. In fact, Mark says later, “they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:52). Because of their stiffneckedness and pride, these people had become accustomed to the blessings Christ bestowed upon them regularly, and even came to expect them.

It’s easy to become accustomed to the miracles and the blessings that God gives to us. They come so often, and in so many forms, that sometimes we focus on the blessings themselves and not on the Source from which they spring. I see my wonderful friends, my educational opportunities, and the beauty of nature around me and I delight in these things. But I often forget that it is only through God that these blessings come to me. I become like the Nephites, who over time became “less astonished at a sign or wonder from heaven.” (3 Nephi 2:1). I eat the loaves and the fishes without remembering the One who multiplied them for me. When I truly take time to consider the blessings God has given me, I am astonished and “stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me.” I marvel especially at the love behind the Atonement. I can’t even comprehend that mercy. I need to try and appreciate all God’s miracles in my life, especially the Great Miracle of the Atonement and to let myself become astonished by them.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

In which I need to figure out what happiness is made out of

Let me tell you a secret:

During my month working at camp this summer, I think I took my medication...twice.

And guess what?

I was fine. No, I was happy.

Let me tell you another secret:

Last week, I only took my medication twice.

And...

I was not fine. I was miserable. The world fell apart and I found myself crying about things like not being able to eat at Chick-Fil-A because I'd forgotten my debit card.

And so I've been asking myself...what made the difference? Why could I be blissfully content without my medication at camp, if I still depend on it for my happiness back at home?

There has to be something, and if I only could put my finger on it...

Maybe it was singing all day, everyday, sailor songs and whaling songs and songs about nature and songs about fish heads and songs about friends, just letting my voice ring out because that's what humans do, they sing.

Maybe it was always having opportunities to help others, or seeing the effects of my work with my own eyes. Ma…

In which my life teems with simple delights

An Internet community I frequent recently discussed the question: "What is a small good thing that has happened in your life lately?" And I realized that lately my life has abounded with small, good things.

1) My husband learned how to make Pad Thai and has made it twice in the last week and a half. He is very good at it and it is awesome.

2) My mentor told me that I'm doing a great job as a teacher. On a day when I was frustrated with 6th graders who refused to participate and 3rd graders determined to sow chaos, this meant a crazy amount.

3) I've been going to therapy, and it's working! I'm learning some simple strategies to cope with my anxiety, and I haven't had an anxiety attack in over two weeks. Everyone, go to therapy.

4) A little boy in one of my special ed classes sang yesterday! I'd never even heard him talk before, and he was singing every single song word for word, perfectly in tune. I wanted to give him the biggest squeeze in the world.

5) I…

In which I don't know how to do friendship

Before I got married, I used to swear up and down that Aaron and I would never be one of "those" couples. You know, the ones who, upon getting married, retreat into their married bliss and completely ignore their friends forever. No, I was sure that I'd spend just as much time with my friends after I got married as I did before.  I was wrong.

I've been married for a year and a half, and I rarely see or talk to most of my friends. Many of them have graduated and moved away, some have had babies, and some I just....haven't made time for. My ability to make new friends also seems to have completely disappeared. I can do small talk and casual aquaintanceship just fine, but moving to actual friend level? I have no idea how to make that happen.

There are a few reasons for this. First, before I was married, I lived with some of my best friends, so it was pretty easy to make time for them. The friends I didn't live with still mostly lived within a few blocks. It'…