The Renegade Psychiatrist – See the proof: Our God is Awesome 

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By Larry Banta 

Ahh, the springtime! New life all around us. Flowers blooming, birds singing, trees showing their new leaves. 

But have you taken time to be in awe? 

In our culture we seem to find ourselves busily running here and there. Get this done! Hurry there! Get ready, we are going to be late! Hurrying off to work, speeding home to get to evening activities, awakening early on Saturday to get the kids off to their sports or other events; carving out time, maybe, on Sunday to get to church. 

We are sometimes so busy we cannot stop to reflect, to think, to consider. We easily lose our AWE. What exactly is awe? I think of a small child seeing a beautiful butterfly taking off from the flower in the yard. Totally focused, immersed in the beauty of that event, eyes opened wide in surprise, mouth agape, appreciating the novelty, the wonder. You notice the excited emotions and hear the laughter from the child experiencing the awe. 

Springtime can be, and should be, a time of wonder. In our northern tier we see the dead come alive. Dormant trees sprout their leaves, flowers burst up from the ground, grass turns green, birds build their nests. 

Did you ever wonder how a bird knows how to build a nest? How do they, while the wind is blowing, carry a single straw to the angle in the tree branch and keep it there while they go and get another and another? Soon a perfect nest is built, starting from a single straw. 

In Africa, where I lived for a time in the past, there are weaver birds. They create amazing nests in the bush. They lay their eggs in these nests to hatch at the exact time for the very food that the newborns need. For their next stage, the food needed for that “magically” appears. It is such an amazing coordination I am not sure how you can look at that and not marvel at creation. 

Matthew 6:26: Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 

Matthew 6:28-29: And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 

I spent a couple of my college years in cancer research. I was looking into one enzyme that controlled the production of protein. In fact, it turned off the gene when there was enough protein made. How did it know that? The more I studied and examined the process of protein synthesis (the cells making proteins) the more in awe I was at the amazing complexity. The deeper I looked the more complex it seemed, all the way down to the atomic level. 

There is a concept in Creation Science called “irreducible complexity.” This basically means that it does not become more simplified the deeper we look into something, but in fact it remains complicated, and in some ways, more complicated. As we seek to understand nature, the more we seem to not know, and the more in awe we become. 

I have spent my career studying the brain. My brain cannot understand the complexity of my own brain. During my medical school years, the neuroanatomy professor was detailing some of the connections in the brain, trying to explain something so very complex. He let it slip that “it was created with these complex feedback mechanisms…” The front row was where most of the few Christians in my class sat. We looked at each other: “What did he say?” “I think he said ‘created!’.”  We decided amongst ourselves that two of us would go and talk to him about that. He willingly talked to the guys who went there. He told them he could not understand how this could have evolved; it is just so complex. He was told about the Creator and at least listened. Even an atheistic professor found himself in awe of God’s creation. 

When you stop to consider, sometimes it is overwhelming in a good way. In our gross anatomy class, we had a group of six of us working with a donated body to learn anatomy and function. I was so taken by the amazing human body that I wrote on the chalkboard we used for taking notes and making diagrams Psalms 139:14: I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 

I figured the next day it would be gone, erased when the janitor cleaned the boards. However, the next day and the next it was still there. After a few weeks the janitor took time to retrace the letters so it stood out from the fading. It lasted all year. We were awed by the complexity and wonder of what we were seeing. Many students had the opportunity to come to the Lord during that first year of medical school because we were in awe of the amazing things we were learning.    

Amazing. Wonderful. Extraordinary. 

So, how do we keep our awe, or even maybe get it back? Stop, slow down! You are moving too fast! Give yourself time to breathe, take in the wonder around you. Sit in the park for a moment. Watch the birds landing on the lake or in the trees. Take a hike in the forest. But don’t just take a walk, observe. Learn something about nature. Take time to look at the bugs or ants and watch what they are doing. 

Some time ago, I found a book called, “Have You Considered: Evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt” by Julie Von Vett and Bruce Malone. I recommend this as a way to stimulate your awe. It is hard to put down once you start reading it. 

As we consider some of the awesome things around us, it should point us to an awesome God who did amazing things. He created all this for us. However, something went wrong in the beginning when sin entered the world. This awesome, loving God had to do something so that we as sinful, imperfect beings could live with Him in an awesome place called Heaven. He sent Jesus, who had to suffer for us on the cross, paying for our sins, our shortcomings, and then being raised from the dead in the awesome resurrection that gives us hope for the future and takes away the sting of death. 

1 Corinthians 15:54-57: When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 

“Where, O death, is your victory? 

Where, O death, is your sting?” 

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Let’s keep our awe for our awesome God! 


Dr. Larry Banta is an author of several books, a retired psychiatrist, and a former missionary. He served in India, Mexico and Kenya. He and his wife, Evelyn, a counselor, travel together to provide consultation and training in various international locations. 

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