Monday, November 06, 2006

Ponder Story Time

A Fantastic Story
by Jill Carattini

An intelligent young woman once said to me, "Some people don't have the luxury of sitting around and thinking about God."

I don't believe she meant any ill will toward occupations immersed in theological matters. She simply meant that not everyone has the time to stop and ponder such lofty and distant ideas on what could well be an indulgence in the abstract. And yet her words were not vacuous or bereft of reflection herself. Did she really mean it is a luxury for her to think about God? Or maybe, she meant, it is a luxury just to think.

In this brief statement was bottled the reality of her own struggle with what was real. Twisted into this declaration was her perception that "real" life and "real" people do not have the time to think about things that are not, or even might not, be real. Time was the only thing she knew to be real. "The daily demands of life," she mused, "rarely pause to let us take in stories about God."

Again, her words seemed to reveal part of the struggle. To sit with "stories about God" was in her mind something like sitting with Alice in the midst of Wonderland or reliving adventures with Tom Sawyer. And she made it quite clear that she just didn't have the time or energy to escape the world of reality. God would make a fantastic story, but who has time to play all day?

I wonder if there comes a specific moment in our lives when stories become synonymous with myth. The metamorphosis is strange because as children we take great delight in story time. But as we grow older, the story becomes mere fantasy, and wonder becomes something we are perhaps supposed to outgrow.

Scientist Carl Sagan once said, "Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of this astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy." Interestingly, Sagan never gave up his childlike wonder of life in outer space. He spent much of his life as an avid supporter of SETI, an organization that supports the study of extraterrestrial life. Such a story of life in space would indeed be fantastic; but belief in God, for him, was just too fanciful. Like the woman with no time for stories, Sagan was convinced the pursuit of God was something akin to the pursuit of Bigfoot.

But their positions invite the question: Is it not possible for something to be both fantastic and true?

"Look at the nations and watch--
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told" (Habakkuk 1:5).

Is it accidental that the gospel of Jesus Christ encompasses a story that is simple enough for a child but deep enough for the most advanced and inquisitive of minds? As Ravi Zacharias notes, the very mind with which we ponder such a question is fantastic and yearns for the truth.

The same God who spoke through the prophet Habakkuk and called a weary people to believe speaks to you and me today: "Call to me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). He who made the heavens desires that you come to the most fantastic of all knowledge--knowledge of Him.

Jill Carattini is senior associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Mike W said...

Personally, everytime I walk outside and see the wonders of nature I ponder God. I cannot fathom how some people don't see God in the tiniest insect buzzing around their head to the largest mountain towering above them. I'm still not convinced however that Bigfoot is fake...even though I know the family that is personally behind the vast majority of "evidence" I'll have to tell you about it someday.

God Bless,


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