Not All Who Wonder Are Lost!
My wife has a t-shirt with the phrase, “Not all who wander are lost” scripted across the front. Our daughter recently hung a sign on her wall with the same phrase. It’s typical of the sayings we enjoy that encourage us to think. And yes, I suppose we all need to be reminded that those who seem (to us) to be moving aimlessly through life may not be as “lost” as we imagine. Wandering may, in fact, be a good thing. As I reflected on this particular phrase, it occurred to me that a similar phrase, using a simple play on words, may be equally true… “Not all who WONDER are lost.” In our search for certainty, could it be that we have diminished the value of wonder?
The Value of Certainty
As a pastor and preacher who typically runs in rather conservative circles, I have often encountered the perspective that declares and affirms the value of certainty and absolutes. And, I would certainly affirm this myself. Truth exists. God has revealed truth in ways that are absolute. The certainties He has established in the many truths of His Word are essential to an anchored life. We need certainty and we need absolutes.
The Value of Wondering
But if we’re not careful, we will suggest, or outright declare, that the Christian life should never consist of uncertainty. We will reduce the Christian experience, God’s Revelation, and even God Himself to something we can easily package and place in a box to be passed along as though this is all there is. We will diminish the value of uncertainty. We will begin to believe that those who WONDER are, in fact, “lost” and outside the comfortable limits of biblical Christianity.
My Ways Are Higher Than Your Ways
But such thinking disregards one of the most fundamental convictions of biblical faith… God is beyond our full understanding. Isaiah said it well… “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9). However much we might study, pray, and strive to know the God of the Bible, He will always be bigger, higher, and, to some degree, unknowable. There will always be room for us to ponder, imagine, dream, and yes, WONDER about life, love, beauty, and even God Himself.
Wandering and Wondering
Children need to wonder. Yes, they need guidance and protection from the dangers of error. But, just as children need the experience of WANDERING in a park under the watchful and not-too-distant eyes of their parents or teachers, so kids need to be encouraged to WONDER about God and Jesus. Let them stop along the path and ask questions. Let them “play” in the vastness of God’s Word. Watch them. Teach them. Protect them. But remember, NOT ALL WHO WONDER ARE LOST!
Author, Speaker, Bible Teacher
See a list of other articles by Rick Edwards.