Those poor killer whales
Those poor killer whales.
A while back disaster struck when another trainer was killed by one of the beautiful killer whales in the famous aquatic theme park. After the tragedy people went crazy, the show was suspended, and the theme park world went solemn.
But do you know what comes to my mind? Because I’ve seen the show and I’ve encountered the splash firsthand. I just can’t shake this feeling that that whale was never meant to swim circles inside pools made by men. That glorious creature was made to roam the oceans whose builder and maker is God.
Theme parks aren’t big enough for whales.
And this world isn’t big enough for your soul.
We run after cars and careers and romance. We spend our lives trying to get the applause of parents and bosses and peers. We swim in circles, in search of another pleasure or experience or high.
When will we learn?
The thirst is never quenched. The itch is never scratched. It doesn’t matter how great the career or how deep the romance. It’s just another man-made tank. And it’s not big enough for your soul.
You were made for the ocean.
This imago dei, image-of-God-reality is a much bigger deal than we have realized. Eternity is hard-wired into our souls, and in the deepest parts of our being, we resist the shallow. Deep calls unto deep. We just don’t have it in us to be satisfied with the junk food of the soul; we want the real thing. Joy, not diversion. Intimacy, not facebook friendships. Eternal purpose, not busyness. Maybe the reason we feel like there must be so much more is because there really is so much more.
We were made for Father.
Plug into him and we come alive. Unplug from him and it’s a form of death. The problem with humanity is that we’ve settled for life without Life himself. We’ve told him to keep his distance and declared our independence. If only we realized how much we give up by settling. Sometimes I wish Father would simply intervene and force me back into the ocean. But he’s too humble for that. He is a gentleman.
Why do we settle?
It all started in the garden. God didn’t say he would kill the humans if they ate the forbidden fruit; he said they’d die. It wasn’t just our first parents; it’s us. It’s me. We’ve all eaten the forbidden fruit, and we’ve been dying ever since. Swimming in circles. Believing one more lap around a man-made pool might do the trick this time.
Settling for futility.
All the while Life is knocking at our door. When we’re quiet we can hear the whisper. The invitation into the deep. I love how David said it:
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We will be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple. (Psalm 65:4)
There is nothing like the experience of Father’s presence. It is the one place in the universe where our restless souls find satisfaction.
Yet we run from it.
The first step home is admitting that we’re swimming in the wrong water. Some of our most profound self-knowledge is being able to recognize the particular patterns and self-strategies we use to settle for the wrong tanks. We flee, we hide. And if you don’t see that you don’t know yourself very well yet. What’s humbling is that our freedom is not something we can secure; only God himself is able. The price tag was the cross. The only thing we can do is to acknowledge that we need it.
But that’s no fun.
Unless you’re tired of swimming in circles.
And that’s where Jesus comes in.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)