A combination of the words “wonder” and “understanding,” where “wonder” signifies both reverence and curiosity.

1) The feeling people have after learning something amazing – describing not only a recognition of the beauty of something (such as the world), but the feeling of increased awe experienced after understanding the true complexity of it.

2) The combination of: “an artist’s wonder at the virtuosity of nature with a scientist’s understanding of how it comes to be.” – author Matt Ridley (describing Richard Dawkins’s “The Greatest Show on Earth”).

Urban Dictionary

You won’t find wonderstanding in any standard dictionary. An internet search finds it listed in the Urban Dictionary, where various unofficial words and phrases live. In fact, every time I type it an angry red line appears underneath, which is normally my cue to fix something I’ve obviously misspelled. However, for the duration of this post I’m refusing to make the correction because even though wonderstanding isn’t an official word, I like it. I’m hoping that someday, just like Pinocchio became a real boy, wonderstanding will become a real word. A guy can dream, right?

If you believe, like I do, that God created us and everything else in our world, an examination of how intricate and amazing it is only deepens your sense of wonder. From a mountain in the distance to a living cell under a microscope, this planet we call home is just amazing. I’ve found the greater my understanding of God’s creation, the greater my sense of wonder, so wonderstanding suits me just fine.

God, I don’t know exactly what heaven will be like
though I’m convinced it will be amazing.
You’ve saved us from hell and tasked us to tell
how Jesus did the saving.
This moment before everlasting
deepen my wonder of you, God
and all you’ve made.
Help me fully understand
the cost Jesus paid
before the earthly me fades.
Give me wonderstanding.

Did life begin all on its own
like a million piece puzzle
into the solar winds thrown?
Wonderstanding sees your purpose, God,
as the one creator behind it all.
The smallest bit of life we can view
and smaller
connects with the rest.
That’s wonderstanding.

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:3 NIV

My joy abounds
immersed in your jubilant sounds,
rivers, oceans, waterfalls.
I kneel down before God
in gratitude for it all…
feeling wonderstanding.
Just when I think I know a lot,
you show me just how far I have to go.

All creation rises up, speaking of your glory.
Through all the gifts of sense I discover
a little more of the story.
There’s glorious blinding light
and resounding booming thunder,
the scent of flowers bending in the wind
and the rain heaven sent
speaking more of your wonder.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;  or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?  In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Job 12:7-10

God, help us know
how small we are
in relation to it all
and still how loved
and cherished by you.
Magnificent God,
master musician and artist,
lead us to be stewards,
adventurers, discoverers, teachers,
forever moved
by wonderstanding.

©Joel Tipple

He Is Risen

Because you’ve risen I can rise
you’re the reason I’m baptized
you’re why I say glory to God when I get up
in the morning
If anyone asks why I believe
you’re the reason

Jesus, they feared you and killed you
as though you were an ordinary man
but little did they know
in dying and rising
you’d return with salvation’s plan

Because you rose
you left an empty grave
hardly used and its door rolled away
and you walked away
with the keys to our forever
so rejoicing and alive I can say…

because you’ve risen I can rise
you’ve gone before me, that is why
I’m not afraid
and I cry more tears of joy than sorrow
because the keys you hold
open all my tomorrows
because you’ve risen,
Lord, you have risen

© Joel Tipple

Out of Control

I was driving the family car. I had been a passenger many times, but never the driver, and I was terrified that at any moment I would do something wrong. The sun was on its way down, and I was on the edge of losing control when I crested the top of a short hill just outside of town and woke up. I’m not sure how I managed to drive, since, at age eight, there was no way my legs could have reached the pedals, but hey, it was my “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” dream, and in a situation like that, rules are made to be broken. It was a recurring nightmare when I was a child. It could have meant something or nothing at the time. I don’t know.

Have you ever found yourself at a point in life where you felt, like in my dream, that you were barely holding on? Since we can’t be certain when the circumstances of our lives will take a wild and crazy turn, it’s worth considering what and where our place of hope and security is. You may feel, as an adult, that you’re better prepared to be behind the wheel of your life than I was to be driving our Oldsmobile, but just what is waiting for you beyond that hill’s crest? When you get there, will money keep you safe? Your own strength? Your family and friends? No matter how well you’ve managed your finances, no matter how well you eat and how much you exercise, no matter the quality of your personal relationships, the reality of the human condition is that stuff happens. So what, then? Is it a waste of effort to be right and responsible? Or rather, given what many view as the uncertainty and ultimate futility of life, should we teach the virtues of selfishness and hedonism?

Over 2,000 years ago a man came along claiming to be the Son of God. At first those in power viewed him as simply another in a long line of self-aggrandizing trouble makers. But the politically sanctioned murder of Jesus Christ was not the end, instead, it was just the beginning. In dying, then defeating death by rising from the grave, our Lord made available eternal life to those who would turn to Him. Not only did the teachings of Jesus show us how to live life here on earth, his actions secured our access to eternal life in the place God has prepared for those who ask for forgiveness and turn from their sins.

   Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
John 14:6-7 ESV

  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29 ESV

Your tears and blood
have won
But for your tears
and blood
we’d be forever done
the end would be the end
but for the one who calls me friend
now darkness and death
turn to light and life
eternal joy instead of strife
because of the Son

© Joel Tipple 11/2/2019


lilac 003

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV

Have you ever heard of a pardon refused
by the person to whom it was offered?
But just so is redemption rejected
by those who pass without the Lord.

The free gift of eternal life
and redemption from eternal separation
is not dependent upon wealth, privilege,
or station.

But we must know our need,
and knowing, ask to be freed,
then by faith, accept the guarantee
of eternal life in God’s kingdom.

For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Colossians 1:13-14 NIV

© Joel Tipple

This Accidental Earth

This accidental earth,
who would have imagined?
This fortuitous birth,
No intelligence planned it?
Just think of the biological speed dating required!

This accidental earth,
no, not an accident.
Science can take us far,
but its explanation
falls short of the spark.

This purposed earth,
this oasis of birth,
God’s creation, served.
As caretakers, we’ve been found wanting.

Outcasts from the garden,
from judgement, by grace pardoned,
as His children we are never alone.
Respect our planet,
our earthly world as God planned it,
until we move on to our heavenly home.

© Joel Tipple