First a confession: As of this writing I have not yet viewed the series finale of LOST. I intend to watch it this evening. However, I’ve gathered from comments by friends and a few posts on Facebook that a strong contingent of fans is unhappy with the ending.
I can only surmise that (1) not all of the questions posed by the show were answered or (2) the questions were answered in an unsatisfactory way or (3) the questions were answered very well but people were still left unsatisfied for some other reason (or perhaps some Other reason, ha!). If I had to guess, option (1) is probably the correct one.
Let’s ask ourselves, however, what sort of ending could have satisfied our deepest longings for resolution. A complete run-down of all the answers in prosaic form? Maybe that “previously on LOST” guy could come out and say something like, “Well, here’s the 411, people. The island is a mirror-matter moon. The light is an old strobe dropped down a hole that now bears the character of deity; long live disco!”
But would such answers really satisfy us? Or would we just be angry that the answers were not to our liking?
The reason I bring all of this up is because the parallels are uncomfortably close to how I think we view our relationship with God. How many times have I told myself, “If God would just visit me in my living room and explain everything it would be so much easier”? He could tell me why evil exists, where He comes from, how to keep my toddler from eating paper candy wrappings. It would all be so satisfying!
But then I read the Scriptures.
And I see that answers do not always satisfy. Didn’t the Israelites have the literal experience of God present before them, in cloud and fire and judgment and miracle and thunder and lightning? Didn’t He tell them explicitly and exactly what He wanted from them?
And yet somehow the very visibility of God seems to have produced the opposite of the desirable effect. They made a calf and worshipped it. They repeatedly and deliberately disobeyed. Why?
Because our deepest longing is not for clarity. It’s for communion. Relationship with the triune God. A closeness that goes beyond understanding and accepts my finitude in the face of His glory. Answers rarely comfort; love usually does. The Israelites had clarity without communion because Jesus had not yet come. There was a gap between them and God, produced by human sinfulness, that only Christ could bridge.
Bad news for all of you who hope for perfect clarity about God and life and everything in between: You will never receive it. Not even in eternity. God is still infinite. I will still be finite. But we will experience communion. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, the gap is bridged for those who believe. I will know Him fully and be fully known — not understand Him fully, but know him.
In the final analysis, LOST is just a television show. No, really. No, seriously. I mean it. Don’t throw stuff at me, please. I don’t even know if the creators intended to deal with any of this. Maybe they just threw together a hodge podge of Star Trek and Narnia and Gilligan’s Island to get people excited. I’m really not sure.
Could it be, though, that we are feeling so LOST because we are looking for something that only eternity will provide? We think we are looking for answers from a television show or from God Himself, but what we are really looking for is communion. An encounter with holiness that goes beyond answers and leads us to true knowledge of our God.
So ask yourself again: Why am I feeling so LOST?