Awe is defined as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder”. We often hear it placed besides words like amazement, astonishment, admiration, or reverence. We often feel it when we look up at the stars, when we ponder the depths of the ocean, or when we remember the birth of our children. We often struggle to wrap words around it, as it moves our hearts into a place of humility and we realize that the amount of things that our human minds can never fully understand is vast.
In Genesis, Abraham himself looks out at the stars. When he does, God says something awesome to him: “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:2) The entirety of the Bible shows us that God did exactly that. God not only blessed Abraham’s family throughout the generations, but also used his descendants to reveal the glory and awe of “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” to many peoples and nations.
It seems that the “feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder” was present in Abraham’s heart that night under the stars. God had just made him an awesome promise and, though it seemed impossible and too vast for him to understand, Abraham believed it. This belief was credited to him as righteousness, and served a purpose that continues to this day.
As believers who follow in the footsteps of Abraham by faith, we can be part of a story that is the most awe-inspiring of all. God has been writing this story for generations, a story in which He continues to bless the nations through families just like ours. As we invite our children to join God in His story, to participate in what He is doing to reach the nations in our day, we do not have to use guilt and shame to motivate them. Instead, we can let the awe and glory of God and His story capture their hearts.
Cultivating a heart of awe in yourself and in your children can be done in the simplest ways, as there are reminders of God’s wonder everywhere. As we look at the stars, we can remind our children of the unbreakable promise that God made to Abraham. We can explain how the skies declare the glory of God. We can share that even the stones will cry out the glory of God if we stay silent. We can tell our children how God has chosen to use us to share the blessing of Jesus, our Savior, with the whole world. We can let them know that they can be part of a really big, awesome story!