Fighting Boredom with God
Guest Blogger: Jon Saunders (Campus Director)
Michigan is a great state to live in, except for the month of March. The promise of summer is still a ways off and the reminder of a cold winter is still present. The snow is gray and slushy. The grass and flowers are dead. Everything feels dull. In March I long for the summer months when the cold and grey is replaced by warmth and vibrancy. Often it’s easy to become bored with God and see him like a slushy March day in Michigan. Here are a few things I try and remind myself of to keep me from the dangerous sin of being bored with God.
In every second of life God is doing a million amazing things that, when thought about, should make our jaw drop. Stars still hang in the sky, romance with my wife is still wonderful, ants still march in lines and fish still swim on the bottom of the ocean with light bulbs hanging off their heads (technically these are called Angler Fish but that ruins the fun). If life is boring it is because we aren’t paying attention to all that God is doing.
These two quotes from Chesterton help me to pay attention.
It is one thing to describe an interview with a gorgon or a griffin, a creature who does not exist. It is another thing to discover that the rhinoceros does exist and then take pleasure in the fact that he looks as if he didn’t. One searches for truth, but it may be that one pursues instinctively the more extraordinary truths.
When I’m daydreaming I can drift into thoughts of living in Narnia. Wouldn’t it be fun to meet Mr. Tumnus? But then I come back to reality and realize I have something better than meeting Mr. Tumnus. God has made a rhino instead. Lewis had to borrow from God’s imagination to come up with his creatures. God invented real creatures without borrowing from anyone.
And here is the other quote from Chesterton:
It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.
This gets me every time. I have 3 kids and I honestly wish I could be more like them. Kids notice simple things and simple things make them incredibly excited. The older I get the less excited I get and I hate that part of me. Lord, keep me from being a boring grown-up. How I long for heaven when I’ll be childish in all the right ways and I’ll sit and stare at the sun in wonderful amazement knowing that God speaks a happy command and the sun hangs in the sky.
See Worldly Enjoyment as a Category for Greater Enjoyment in God
I often tell my friends that Reformed theology has caused me to love to eat. They usually think I’m joking but I’m not. In fact, Reformed theology has not just increased my love for food but also for sports, sex, friendship, nature and a hundred others things. What Reformed theology does is help us to see the world as God’s wonderful gift to draw us to him. Using the language of Colossians 2:16 every part of this world is a shadow that is intended to draw us to the substance of Christ. The command then is that we maximize the shadows so that we would feel the substance even more.
If you eat food and are bored by it then you will see God as boring. When I eat I try and pay attention to each specific flavor on my tongue because the more I eat and enjoy that taste the more I will long for God. If shrimp and grits taste this good in a fallen world then I can’t believe how good it’s going to be to live in an eternal covenantal relationship with the God who imagined and created the taste of shrimp and grits! It is clearly a sin to worship the worldly gifts of God, but is also a sin to not enjoy what God has given as a way of longing for him more.
God does not intend boring lives for us. Atheists live in the gray because the end of their lives is nothing but for us we live in color because God is sovereign and happy. He is working millions of amazing miracles each second, the greatest of them being I’m still a Christian. Lord, keep me from the sin of boredom with you.