I fear I might grow to love my prison.
The hunger in humanity that longs to escape this geocentric trap can be seen everywhere.
Man isn’t satisfied.
Primal man wasn’t satisfied on his continent so he set sail across the seas. He wasn’t satisfied glued to the surface of the earth so he set sail through the clouds. He wasn’t satisfied with this planet so he explored the solar system. Now the galaxy isn’t even enough and the cosmos beckons. History teaches us that no amount of money, resources, or even human life will stand in the way of seeking freedom.
No, it’s not death I fear, it’s accepting this cage is all there is.
I believe that deep longing, the hunger that is in us is a residual mark from our Maker. I think C.S. Lewis is right, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” Our relentless searching proclaims our desire for the glory of God. Something inside us longs to be fully free – free from the confinement of this world. Everything we do revolves around this. We know we are deeply unsatisfied. We want purpose and meaning way beyond this temporal world where we are limited by restricted space and time.
Some grow so tired of the metaphysical brawl they respond in one of two ways. They either pretend it doesn’t exist when all evidence proclaims the contrary or they attempt to feed the hunger in unsatisfactory ways. Like eating moldy bread and pretending it’s a delicious cake, or satisfying our desire for love and intimacy with pornography. When the real thing seems unattainable we begin to settle for something much more feeble. C.S. Lewis says, “After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in.” There are so many things that delay this process or numb us from it.
Some have come to accept their prisons…
The prison of self-numbing through medication, legal or illicit.
The prison of self-numbing through sexual sin.
The prison of self-numbing through material pursuit.
The prison of self-numbing through an attempt to deny the longing even exists.
We all know none of these have ever fully satisfied.
Man in his most sober state knows deep longing for eternal meaning and purpose exists. My fear is many come to accept their prison. Some even develop affection for it. Instead of seeking the answer they just numb the longing and it feels better to be numb than to be fully aware of this divine hunger.
This is what I fear the most. It’s not death; it’s loving the cage I have chosen.
Maybe C.S. Lewis is right when he says hell is locked from the inside.
I choose to keep growing, to keep searching. This is why I love Jesus. Without ever leaving the surface of this planet he shows us how we can pioneer eternity. He shows us the way. Studying theology is like a cool drink on a hot summer day. It satisfies. That is why I love Jesus and must proclaim His good news. Your deepest metaphysical hunger can be perfectly fed and it is so good!
I know that there is a longing in my heart that began in primal man. We are made for more than this.
Image from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Wrong Man.