Watch Your Language

by DanWolgemuth on September 6, 2019

Another routine optometrist appointment. My depleted supply of contact lens required it.

After a short wait I was escorted back to my exam room by a young technician named Diego. He was thoughtful and engaging.

He directed me into Exam room #2 and into the seat that would be my resting spot for the next 45 minutes.

Then, with appropriate thoroughness, Diego instructed me to cover my left eye and read back to him the smallest line of letters that I could read on the screen in front of me. With my left eye covered, I struggled to make it even to the middle line on the chart.

Much to my surprise and subsequent delight, Diego responded with a single word… “awesome”. Then, with right eye covered and letters communicated, once again… “awesome”.

Over the course of my appointment, on every encounter, Diego chose to respond with one of two words… “awesome” or an occasional “perfect”.

I confess, whatever misguided delight I might have experienced at first was quickly being diluted.

There are words in the English language that should be kept under lock and key. Not that they don’t exist or apply, but they have to be verified before use.

Awesome is one of those words.

Exodus 15:11 nails it… “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”

Or Nehemiah 1:5… And I said, “O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,

Great and awesome God.

In fact, according to my English Standard Bible, the word awesome is used 32 times in the Bible, all in the Old Testament, and never in relation to reading an eye chart.

Yes, in terms of parting the Red Sea, but never related to whether I remembered to bring my glasses to my optometrist appointment.

Even the word “awe” is used sparingly… ten times in the Old Testament, and four times in the New. Listen to the power of Psalm 33:8…

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

Or the account of Jesus healing a paralytic in Luke 5…

And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”

And again in Hebrews 12…

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

Words matter. In some cases, they inflate the meaningless and diminish the… well, awesome.

When I left my appointment, sun blitzing through my dilated pupils, I tasked myself with an assignment… instead of judging an over-zealous eye-technician, I challenged myself with the appropriate declaration of the term.

Awesome. Yes, God is awesome. Beyond comprehension. Unexplainable. Infinite. Mind bending, pulse racing, breath exhaustingly awesome.

Yes… Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Words as an acceptable act of worship. Deploy them thoughtfully, appropriately, powerfully and humbly.

Awesome, indeed, God is just that.

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