for the want of wonder
“We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”
— G.K. Chesterton
All my life, I’ve been searching. Searching for the satiable. The thing in life that will quench my deepest desires. This feeling of emptiness has led me to the ends of the world. It’s brought me the Eiffel Tower’s sparkle at midnight to the sunsets of Santorini. And for a minute, it feels awe-inspiring. After seeking and finding such beauty, my soul was ablaze with passion, wonder, excitement, and for the moment, contentment. Time stops, nothing else matters, and it’s just me and the object of my gaze.
These eyes have seen beautiful things. You would think that after seeing something as beautiful as the Cape Point, South Africa I’d be set. But, I’m not. We’re not. Give it a few more weeks and the search will continue.
As Chesterton puts it, humans are never at a loss for the want of wonder. We will always seek the next beautiful thing, the thing more magnificent than the last. Or another way of saying this, we will always be seeking the next “high,” however it comes. I believe this mystery leads us to travel the ends of the world or participate in other thrill-seeking activities. But, I have to ask why? Why, won’t these magical places or things satisfy are longing for beauty or satisfaction?
What’s at the root of our conquest?
Now, let’s go back to Chesterton. People are “perishing in for want of wonder.” Perishing. People are literally perishing every day seeking beauty and wonder, because they are seeking in the wrong places. It becomes clear to me that if you’re living without the source of beauty, you’ll never understand the fullness and richness of its existence.
I must ask then, what on earth (or not) will fulfill this longing?
If creation draws us to worship, we are also drawn to the Creator. The Creator will always be greater than the creation, for creation is only a mere reflection of the beauty, goodness and majesty in He who made it. In my mind, it makes sense. We were created to create, and to enjoy creation by a perfect Creator. Satisfaction only comes from KNOWING Him. Not knowing about him, but actually EXPERIENCING Him.
God is the beauty we seek. He must encompass everything that is beautiful. And if this is true, this means that He is here, with us, this very moment. Monk Kidd once said that, “Deity means that divinity will no longer be only heavenly … It will also be right here, now, in me, in the earth, in this river, in excrement and roses alike.”
I’m not talking about pantheism, the worship OF creation, but of the Creator. As Ann Voskamp describes it, “Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking-glass of nature.”
And furthermore, it masterfully explains our need to constantly be in the presence of beautiful things. We are really craving His presence. Made in His image and made to worship, we will only be fully satisfied in His presence. It’s the only place or state on earth that will fulfill our longing, and unless we learn to live in a state of constant communion with God, we won’t be satisfied.
If creation is only a glimpse of God, my earthly, limited mind cannot even begin to understand God’s glory. Holy, holy, holy. My perspective changes. He must increase, as I decrease. He becomes worthy of my affection, my life and my worship. And that holy experience of finding and knowing God will result in the richest form of joy imaginable.
A sunset will never be the same.