Happily Ever After
We are made in the image of God; we carry within us the desire for our true life of intimacy and adventure. To say we want less than that is to lie.
― John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire
There's a trend happening in entertainment. From TV shows to movies, there is this pull toward fantasy and fairytales. NBC and ABC have both recently released shows based on children's fairytales. Each has a hero, each a villain, and both tell us that there is much more to the world than what we see. In ABC's Once Upon a Time we learn that the sleepy town of Storybrook is really a sinister cover up for a curse where all fairy tale creatures have been trapped. Time has stopped in Storybrook and the former fairy tale creatures have all but forgotten who they really are. Yet each of them are plagued by the feeling that things aren't quite right. Something in them yearns for their once happily-ever-after lives.
Catch it yet?
There is within each of us, believer or not, a feeling, an inkling of former glory. It is this insatiable hole that hints at a former life. We were made for more than this. We were made for happy endings, for glory, for victory. There is this odd feeling that we don't quite fit this world, a desire for something we cannot quite put our finger on. Some part of us knows that things in this world have gone terribly wrong and we long for a hero, a savior.
I've seen many Christians up in arms about fantasy and fiction. From Twilight to Harry Potter, we have boycotted in the name of religion. We as a church have shut off the outside world for fear of it's influence instead of going out there to influence the world and in doing so we have missed what is right in front of us.
People are hungry for God.
Their cries are coming through by the stories they tell and relate to. Girls like Twilight because Edward is a mysterious being who is strong enough to crush them and yet exudes unconditional (albeit creepy) love. Kids love Harry Potter because it's a story about an mistreated orphan who finds out that he's really more powerful than anyone could have imagined. We watch tv shows like Once Upon a Time because in the end we long for good to triumph over evil and for the damsel and hero to be reunited.
Do you hear it? The cries?
Instead of walling ourselves off we should be starting conversations with those around us who are empty and need to be filled, who are despairing and need hope, who are hurting and need to be healed. People need to know that happily-ever-after does exist in this world, that there is hope, but that they are looking in all the wrong places.
The solution to a sick world isn't to lock ourselves in for fear that we'll catch it, it's to go out into the world and administer the cure. Discernment is noticing what is true about something or someone, judgement is letting it harden your heart.* Christians as a whole have been guilty of judging the world and shying away. We have hardened our hearts to a world that is crying out for it's happily-ever-after, that is empty and yearns to be made whole.
Will you answer?
*Quote from Pastor Bob Hamp, Recording: The Hidden Heart