Sunday Devotional: The God-shaped hole in our hearts
Posted on August 30, 2020 by Dr. Eowyn
O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!
Have you ever wondered what it is about the The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Superman which make those books and movies so wildly popular?
Ever wonder why the savior (John Connor) in the original Terminator movie has the initials J. C.?
The answer is that the main characters and overriding themes in all those stories are, respectively, Christlike figures and Christian. The unmistakable draw of these stories suggests that, despite the efforts of those hostile to Western civilization, many in our contemporary society remain attached to its core values of good vs. evil, family, country, and private ownership, as well as personal virtues of charity, courage, loyalty, self-discipline, chivalry, honor, fidelity, and chastity. The stories’ enormous success signifies strong popular dissent from the Progressive worldview and agenda of moral relativism. More than that, their commercial success points to our hunger for these narratives.
In his book, Why Can’t We Be Good? (p. 244), philosopher Jacob Needleman observed that “Twist and turn as we may, explain it or deconstruct it as we may,” we know “down deep” that we are meant to be moral beings. Unhappily, however, “in every place, in every occasion of our lives and culture we see that we are failing what we are meant to be—and we suffer from that.” And so we run from one illusory answer to another, whether it be mind-altering and –numbing drugs, mass movements, charismatic leaders, or “fundamentalisms of all kinds from the religious to the atheistic to the scientistic.”
But, as the lyrics of the Rolling Stones’ song bewail, we still “can’t get no satisfaction”….
In The Gospel According to the World’s Greatest Superhero (pp. 32-33), Stephen Skelton explains why we respond to stories like Lord of the Rings. Those sanctified stories speak to us because God made man in his own image. Thus, “we have an essential longing to be with him, to be comforted by what is familiar to our deepest heart.” This is why we hearken on a subconscious level to the Christian themes in those stories because Jesus Christ is the human face of the invisible God. As Skelton explains,
It is his figure—and by extension, his story—we will respond to most strongly. To ensure our response, when God created us in his image, he also created us with his image in us. But it is a God-shaped blank, as [Blaise] Pascal puts it, a vacant hole in our hearts, until he fills it with himself . . . . So from birth we have eternity in our empty hearts—an empty eternity. No wonder we feel restless . . . . In our desperate search for something to fill Forever, nothing in the temporary world will do. In fact, it will take the one thing that is the exact size and shape of eternity: God, whom we come to through Christ.
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”- French philosopher-mathematician-physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées VII(425)
I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed,
I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.
May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,