Gasp = a sudden, short intake of breath, as in shock or surprise, to catch one’s breath
We, all the staff, were called into an unscheduled meeting a few months back. When it’s an unscheduled meeting, like being called into the principle’s office, I usually expect the worst. I thought walking into this meeting that we were going to be told some uncomfortable update or some changes that would not be the most encouraging. I sat there, looking at all the faces in the room. One of the guys higher up began to share some news that happened. I can’t go into complete detail of what he shared, as it’s not mine to say, however, what he shared was none other than a miracle that had taken place. When he told us what it was, I gasped! Out loud. Some eyes turned toward the sound I made. Tears started to well up in my eyes. But that gasp. I thought to myself, “Did I just gasp out loud?” Everyone was awestruck, but soon began to celebrate the good news that was shared!
Later on that week I continued to think over my reaction of “gasping”. I am not one to gasp, or easily be shocked or surprised. I can’t remember the last time I gasped or was really astonished by something. But here’s the thing, I LOVE surprises. I really do! I love not knowing what the presents are under the Christmas tree, I like not knowing certain things all to be surprised by the outcome later. If someone is about to prematurely tell me something, I “shhsh” them as I want to be surprised by the information. But it’s weird because I am a planner and love to have things planned out, but on the other hand, I just love a surprise. I once had someone from another country fly to see me and surprise me at work. It was the BEST feeling ever! To Gasp. I don’t gasp though when I am surprised. The gasping thing is new for me!
I thought about the gasp and the moment it happened in. In that moment I was prepared for the worst; the information told to us was out of left field and I didn’t see it coming. It was a miracle. It was an answer. It was what we needed. It was ABOVE what I could conjure up in my imagination. The information, the action, the story, was above me. It went above my thoughts, my logic. It hit me somewhere deep inside that caused me to gasp. I was so authentic in that moment it scared me!
When I hear about things, I react to the best of my ability with what the situation requires. I usually have a filter though. Sad! But I do. I have a slight filter on my responses, my replies, and my reactions. I think’s it good to be slow to speak and think before you speak! However, sometimes the filter can numb you and almost desensitize you to the wonder, the miracles, the answers that happen in this world. When I heard the news, it went straight past my mind and went into my spirit and my unfiltered, natural, organic response was a gasp. I was shocked by God. I was astonished. So silly to write that, but I was! And I am now officially addicted to it!
After my “gasping” moment, I have decided AND I have told God that I want to “gasp” more, I want to be surprised, and shocked. I desire answers to prayers to be above my wildest dreams because there is something beautiful that happens when we have those types of answers, and that is: you couldn’t do it on your own, you could not pull it off, it had nothing to do with you. It is God wanting to show you that He has it all figured out!
Astonish = to fill with sudden and overpowering surprise or wonder; amaze
In my department meeting the other day, we were doing devotionals and a portion of this book was read out loud. I’d like to share it with you because I think it goes along with gasping. To be astonished is something we, or maybe just I, have lost in life. I am rarely surprised anymore. We are numb, or we have seen it before. I share this passage with you, not as judgement, but as to stir up a desire for it. Or maybe this is just for me in my season of life… but because of the Christmas season we are entering, I think it important.
Excerpts from “Beauty Will Save The World” – By Brian Zahnd
Referring to Jesus’ resurrection, “Three women make a startling discovery that leaves them trembling, astonished, and speechless. Perfect. Astonishment, accompanied by fear and trembling, evoking stunned silence should be our first response to the gospel! Just think how unsatisfactory it would have been if Mary Magdalene had calmly said, “Oh, yes, this makes perfect sense” – and then gone on to give the other two women some erudite explanation like a German theologian giving a university lecture. As the Roman-French playwright Eugene Ionesco understood, ‘Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible.’ If explanation had been the first response to the resurrection, something would have been wrong.”
I ask these questions to myself and to the reader (if applicable), “Are you astonished by the gospel anymore? Are you in awe of the miracles of old or even the ones that happen today? Are you surprised by the acts of kindness you see? Do you stop and think about what you have heard or witnessed, to really allow the magnitude they hold to set in?” I have become familiar with the stories, and I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way. I grew up in the church so I ‘know” the gospel. But if I am not astonished by it, do I really know it? Do I gasp when I read about a miracle or see answered prayers? Do I stand amazed when I see goodness on the earth? Am I filled with wonder and surprise when something happens in my life? Do I stand in awe and silence at creation, the mountains that stand so strong or the oceans that hold so much power? Am I awestruck when someone decides to choose Love? That is what I crave. I no longer want to routinely clap my hands when someone shares from the stage a miracle that happened in their life. I want to gasp, I want the silence to follow, and by silence I mean, “Lost for words”! I want to stare at mountains and be so astonished that I forget to take a picture of them.
(disclaimer: I do have feelings and am emotional when I hear good things and I love reading the Bible and I connect with it! It’s deep inside of me. I have joy when I hear good things or see kind acts take place. What I wrote above made me sound like a robot, but I’m not. I promise! I cry at flash mobs because it represents unity to me! Just so you get a glimpse of who I am! My writing above is my desire to be ASTONISHED! I want astonishment to overtake familiarity.)
I may be rambling in what I write and I hope I have tied it all together to fully communicate something that has been pressing on my heart lately. Because Christmas is a few days away, my heart is that God would reveal the miracle, the awe, wonder, majesty of the moment when He shared His Son with this world for the intention that we would be in full relationship with Him.
I want to be in awe this season. I don’t want to be numb. I desire to have prayers answered in a way that I could never have imagined because it was God who had it all taken care of. I want to be surprised with His goodness for me and all that He has in store for my life. I want to be able to not explain it, because as said above, “Explanation separates us from astonishment.”
I hope and pray you are so astonished this season that all you can do is gasp!
“Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination.” Ephesians 3:20 (The Passion Translation)