I believe people intend to astonish with news of a pregnancy, their engagement, or the purchase of a new home. Astonishment has an element of surprise that is able to impress greatly. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the population are not able to experience births, weddings, and large financial purchases. Often, we think of all the joy at a birthday party that is full of astonished people at the opening of gifts. However, the only astonishment some people know are the great consequences of terrorist attacks, destructive earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like. Even so, the spirit of joy and the ability to astonish is present in spiritual qualities.
There are many spiritual ways in which to astonish, and are very common. People often comment about how optimistic a person is during gloomy circumstances. They are astonished at how the spirit of faith and joy can enliven a person during tragedy. Way too often others will comment about how calm or “unbothered” a person seems during the storms of life. They are astonished at the meek and gentle spirit. Another popular sentiment is, “how much can that person take!” They are astonished at the durability of a person’s persevering and patient spirit. I think a lot of astonishment comes when people are compassionate in a cold and selfish world. People cannot understand a kind and loving spirit amidst a cruel and hateful society.
Christ astonished others in many ways but was always greatly criticized. His own disciples were astonished when he peacefully slept in the boat during the storm. They were somewhat irritated by that. The Pharisees and Sadducees were astonished at his wisdom, and hated him for it. The rich man was astonished at Jesus’s request to forsake wealth in exchange for spiritual wealth. The rich man walked away from him. Christ in us astonishes others through the spiritual fruit and not by the natural events of this world.