|Photo by Patricia Condon, 2012|
I am currently listening to an audio book by A.W. Tozer entitled The Attributes of God. (Link to Book) In section 3, he makes this statement:
"You might deny the sun, but you'll still want the sunlight." Or as I heard it:
"You might deny the Son (Jesus) but you'll still want the light (love/connection/peace) of the Sunlight."
He was making this point: You might not want to admit you need God, but you do, and until you admit it and bask in the Sunlight you are craving, you will seek "these rays in other ways."
It's why we have so much "entertainment" around us. In one weekend, you can go to an amusement park, watch a 3-D movie, see a live band, and read a Harry Potter novel. All of these we call "entertainment." They an escape for the mind and in some cases the body. We can go to Hogwarts school. Fly on screen with Batman. Scream your head off on Batman The Ride. We can get away from it all and feel pleasure, peace, and welcome distraction from all that worries and perplexes us. We can forget our suffering - forget about that little pit of anxiety inside our heart of hearts that never seems to go away, like a cup that we pour and pour and pour into, but it never gets full. Why doesn't it ever go away; why doesn't that cup ever fill? Because, according to Tozer, it can only be filled with one thing (whether we admit it or not) - GOD. As Saint Augustine put it -"Everyone has a God shaped hole in their heart." Deny that hole or try to fill it up with "entertainment" and we find it only fills partially or temporarily; it never quite satiates our ultimate desire, never quiet soothes our suffering, never quite settles our restlessness. The light of the big screen is pale compared to what we are really seeking. We need the eternal Light.
Separation from this Light is how Tozer, and CS Lewis, define hell.
Tozer says, (paraphrase) "Even if there is no fire in hell, we will still suffer terribly because we would be ultimately, eternally separated from God."
CS Lewis describes hell as the ultimate "turning inward" away from God. You turn in and in and in until you are a prisoner trapped in inside yourself in a cramped space that is desperately dark, frightening and lonely. And the doors are locked from the inside but you can never, ever get out. You will crave the sunlight, crave its warmth, but you'll never see or feel it again because there is no Sun in your world and no hope of it ever appearing again. I grew up in Baptist churches, so I heard all the "fire and brimstone" and "gnashing of teeth" stories about the physical suffering that supposedly goes on in hell to torment sinners. My fear of that pales in comparison to the thought of being literally stuck for all eternity turned inward, in complete darkness, without any hope of ever seeing the Sun again.
Thank God it doesn't have to be that way. The Sun has come; He is here; his light, his warmth is for all.
Our planet reflects this truth...
When night falls,
Flowers close up.
Birds go to roost in trees.
When the sun comes up in the morning, so do we. We lift our petals, arms, snouts and beaks toward to the sun. We stretch and smile and go about doing what God created us to do. We were made for the Light. We are drawn to the Light. We can rest in the Light. A flickering screen, buzzing bulb, or even a fancy lamp won't do. We need the Sun.
I John 1:5
Hope A. Horner, 2012