“The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.”
This is a G.K. Chesterton quote. The world is full of wonders, but lacking in wonder.
I wonder what he meant. What do you think he meant?
Chesterton was describing the many wonderful sights and thrills that are available to us in the world. He wrote of the thrill of amazing scenery from the top of a mountain. But then he said that he felt no need to seek that particular wonder, glorious though it might be.
I think Chesterton is right. The world is full of wonders, and full of people who spend so much time and effort experiencing as many wonders as they can.
The wonders of nature: a glorious sunrise, the colourful underwater life on our ocean floors, the incredible northern lights of the aurora borealis.
The many, many glorious wonders of art, science and medicine increasingly accessible to us in our modern world.
Just think of the many technological wonders of the smartphone that are carried by most people in urban and rural areas alike. Within seconds, I can now not only talk with my daughter who is thousands of miles across the planet, I can even see her with video technology as she talks!!
Everyday in our hospitals, many wonders take place. Imagine the wonders of a heart or kidney or corneal transplant!
Indeed, our world is full of miracles and wonders, and we should be grateful for these.
Praise God that our world is filled with so many wonders.
But perhaps with so many wonders around us, we are prone to losing any sense of wonder. We fail to pause, ponder and appreciate the many wonders around us today.
Perhaps that was what Chesterton was saying. Our world is full of, and thus will not starve, for lack of wonders.
But so few take time or effort to wonder in awe and appreciation of the Source of these many wonders.
Or as an alternative form of the Chesterton quote: “We are perishing for want of wonder, not want of wonders.”
Lord, save us from perishing, we pray.
On TRAC Together for God's Word, Worship, Welcome, Witness and Wonder
Rev Dr Gordon Wong
This article has been edited from the original which first appeared in OnTRAC 1st Issue 2017. Used with permission.