Recently, someone on Facebook used the word, gobsmacked. I’d never heard the word before, became curious, and looked it up.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, gobsmacked means “utterly astonished or astounded.”
But my curiosity wasn’t satisfied yet. I had to learn the origin, too.
Sometime in the 1980s, gob (which means “mouth”) was joined with smack to indicate a clap of the hand over the mouth in astonishment. (Where have I been the last thirty years that I’m just being introduced to this word now?)
My first thought upon digesting this information was, I’d like to add the word, GODsmacked to the dictionary! Not that I’m visualizing God clapping at our heads like a hand over the mouth, but the new word could describe those moments when he utterly astonishes and astounds—moments such as these:
Out of nowhere one morning, while beginning my prayer time, tears began to flow. It seemed as I drew near to God, he chose that day to demonstrate just how near he was. I felt his warm presence.
Charles Spurgeon said,
“Tears clear the eyes for the sight of God in his grace
and make the vision of his favor more precious.”
My spiritual eyes were cleared that morning as I was GOD-smacked by the favor of his palpable presence.
Sometimes I wonder: Should I continue with the blog? The effort requires such a large time commitment. And it’s not as if I’m attracting thousands of followers. Maybe I should give it up.
Then I read this in Eugene Peterson’s Run with the Horses (InterVarsity, 2010):
“Never give up…get distracted,
and be diverted to something else…
There is only one thing needful…
Do it. Then do it again. And again.
I prayed, Lord, does this apply to my writing?
I turned the page to the next chapter and read the title, “Get a Scroll and Write.”
Talk about GODsmacked!
Frequently after church, Eric and Hilja (our son and daughter-in-law) and we enjoy brunch at a nearby restaurant. A couple of weeks ago the waiter commented that our group was very small that Sunday – just three adults and our granddaughter, Elena. (Steve was home sick with a virus.)
“You know, you guys come in here a lot with internationals,” he continued.
The three of us began calculating just who Eric and Hilja had brought with them the last couple of months: 1) Hilja’s mother from Finland, 2) the Chinese students they’ve hosted during their one year of study at the university, and 3) international colleagues of Hilja’s.
He was right. There had been a number of ethnicities represented at our table.
But it was his last comment that surprised me most.
“Yeah, the wait staff always talks about who you’ll bring in next!”
I was GODsmacked by the pointed reminder: people are watching. And my words and actions need to reflect the love of Jesus and demonstrate the God-enhanced life—wherever I am.
* * * * * * * * * *
Father, What a delight that you love to astonish and astound! Your surprises bless me in numerous ways, including: reaffirming your love, encouraging me to press on, and offering memorable guidance and reminders. Thank you for being a GODsmacking God!