Something, and I don’t know what, set me to thinking about the difference between awe and joy. This is what occurred to me.
When I consider the vastness of our universe, I am in awe. When I consider the house in which my family lives on our third of an acre, I feel joy.
When I consider all the crops that are grown and all the remarkable work that is done in the processing of food, I am in awe. When I consider the food that is placed before me at dinner time, I feel joy.
When I consider the millions of books that are in print, I am in awe. When I read one well-written sentence on one page in one good book, I feel joy.
When I consider the billions and billions of people who live in this world, I am in awe. When I have the privilege of knowing and loving my wife, my daughter, and my son, I feel joy.
When I consider the multitudes of God’s people who have worshipped him, who do worship him, and who will worship him, I feel awe. When I experience God in a single moment in a single worship service, I feel joy.
When I consider how great God is, how he holds all creation together, and how he intervenes in human history, I am in awe. When I sense God’s presence in my life at a particular moment on a particular morning, I feel joy.
Awe, then, comes in the face of the really big, sometimes unexplainable, and often unbearable realities that are out there. Joy, though, comes in the very small, particular, and peculiar experiences of life.
Perhaps it is true that awe leads to worship and joy leads to life.