At a certain age, children begin to ask questions, almost constantly. Why is the sky blue? How do you breathe? Do you have birthdays after you die? They want to understand and make sense of the world around them, and they explore with insatiable curiosity, each answer sparking another question.
As a child of eight or nine, I remember sitting with several friends and talking about how God could have existed forever. And what did forever mean anyway? How could something never begin and never stop? Grown-ups said certain concepts were beyond the reach of finite minds to grasp–certain truths were too great for adult and child alike to fully understand–but we wanted to know the unknowable.
And I still do. Now I realize that I can’t understand in full, but I know that I have the privilege of the search for insight and knowledge. Proverbs states, “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” In the way God structured our world, wisdom and understanding come to those who seek, and I don’t want to bypass this glory of searching out the mystery.
One way I process the journey is through story. Stories help make sense of the world, while at the same time fueling this sense of wonder and curiosity. When Jesus told parables, they provided a framework to help people make sense of the kingdom of God and the way the world worked. Yet they also provoked a greater desire for understanding. He didn’t provide answers to memorize and check off the list, he offered true wisdom that ever revealed new facets to those who persisted in seeking understanding.
The stories we encounter in the pages of a book work in a similar way. By no means do they compare to the weight of Scripture–they don’t carry the authority and power of the Word of God, but God has made us with the capacity to gain meaning through story and He can reveal things through it. As you read a tale like The Last Battle, you might suddenly gain an insight on an element of eternity, but does that diminish your interest in the subject, in the mystery? No, it intrigues and provokes curiosity to go to the ultimate Source and learn more.
In the writing of stories and the reading of them, I understand new things about the world around me, and as I gain fresh perspectives, I see how little I yet know…and so the search continues.
What about you?