Waking to the Wonder of God: An Interview with Margaret Feinberg
Margaret Feinberg has accomplished a lot in a short time. The author of more than a dozen books and speaker at conferences such as Catalyst, CreationFest, Q and Thrive, she has been recognized by Charisma magazine as one of the top 30 leaders who will help lead the church in the next decade. Her characteristic warmth and masterful storytelling have endeared readers all across America to her. Now, with her new book, Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, Feinberg offers practical ways to see the wonder of God in His creation. JM: Please describe the audience for which you wrote Wonderstruck.
MF: Wonderstruck is written for anyone who feels stuck in their faith. Whether you’ve realized it or not, odds are the wonder in your life has faded. The joy that comes with being a child of God doesn’t burn as bright. Somewhere along the way maybe delight has been replaced with duty. Or the contentment that comes with being part of God’s family has been punctured. Wonderstruck is designed to awaken you to the wonder of God and help you fall in love with God again.
JM: What do you mean by “the wonder of God”?
MF: Wonder feels like such a nebulous topic. That’s why I like to provide the following definition: The wonders of God are those moments of spiritual awakening that make you long to know God more. Wonder isn’t about having a hip story to tell your friends or experiencing goosebumps. Divine wonder awakens your passion for God. Sometimes the wonders God works are within us. Though outward circumstances don’t budge, we experience the wonder of God’s transforming presence. Sometimes the wonders God works are within our community. God does things through a group of believers that we didn’t think possible. And sometimes the wonders of God are miraculous—a person is healed of disease, a moment of divine timing seems to defy all odds, a gift of provision arrives out of seemingly nowhere. When we begin to look for the wonder of God, we begin to see it in the most unlikely places.
JM: What advice can you give our readers that want to start living life wonderstruck?
MF: Living wonderstruck begins with a simple prayer: God, show me your wonder. Begin praying this for the next 30 days. And live wide awake to the way God wants to answer. When you begin persistently praying for wonder and living with divine expectation, the posture of your life will change. You’ll begin seeing God on the move in your neighborhood, workplace, and more.
In the back of Wonderstruck, there’s a 30-Day Wonder Challenge designed to awaken wonder in your life through a series of specific activities. Most of them don’t take much time, but they’re powerful for igniting the wonder in our lives. Activities include setting an alarm and watching the sunrise. As the light illuminates the horizon, reflect on the ideas that it’s often darkest before the days and God’s mercies are new every morning. Another activity challenges you to sit through 20 minutes of silence and solitude to simply be with Christ. Each of these experiential activities invites you to reawaken to the wonder of God.
JM: What is the common thread that runs through all the books you’ve written?
MF: Whether it’s The Organic God, The Sacred Echo, Scouting the Divine or Wonderstruck, they’re all written to awaken people to the wonder of God and the Scripture. Each book is written to kindle your desire to know God, to study the Scripture, and to embrace the abundant life God created you for. My friend, Ed Stetzer, once described my work as turning “exegesis into art.” I think that description is far too generous, but I love helping people experience God in beautiful ways.
JM: As you travel and speak to groups and engage people in their journey, what are some common needs you sense when it comes to living out a vibrant faith in today’s world?
MF: There’s an old adage regarding raising children, “How do you spell love? T. I. M. E.” In other words, you express love with your kids by spending time with them. Parents know this, but we tend to forget it in our relationship with God. Living in a hyper-productive culture, most of our schedules are busting at the seams. Many of us are more harried, stressed and distracted than ever. The greatest loss of our hyper-busy culture is that we’re less likely to spend good, old-fashioned time with God. Simply being with Him. Not for what God can do or produce. Not for what we can do or produce. Simply. Being. With. Him. When we make time for God, He aligns our posture and perspective with His own. Transformation occurs. Prayer ignites. Gratitude abounds. Joy bubbles. Love flows. Faith becomes vibrant again.