Mariel Noris, St. Mary’s
18th February 2015
Picturing a twelve year old Mariel watching a scene from the Lord of the Rings bawling her eyes out is perhaps rather comical when you think about it now, but I distinctively remember feeling the deepest sense of loneliness as Elrond told his immortal elf daughter of dwelling bound to her grief ‘until all the world has changed and the long years of your life are utterly spent… there is nothing for you here, only death’. Starting a testimony of why I’m a Christian with LOTR is perhaps rather unconventional, but it was what sparked an existentialist crisis in me which has haunted me ever since. I suppose you could say I was a sensitive child? I recognized very early the beauty and brokenness of the world, and desperately sought to cling to something unchanging. I always had this fear of losing my parents in a car crash, and used to call my mum about 3o times a day just to be assured that she was still there. Talk about needy!
I think we all yearn for something to fill that ache of loneliness in our hearts. We hunger for an unchanging, perfect world of beauty, and if we were to pause in the midst of our constant rat races towards self-actualization, perhaps we might acknowledge the emptiness of our pursuits. I grew up in a Christian family with all the encouragement and opportunity I needed to achieve the greatest fulfillment in life, but throughout the years of growing up I’d seen enough to know that the things we humans pursue will never satisfy. The brokenness I’d experienced in my life, my family, and in the lives of people around me increased my yearning for joy – not the kind of joy that we misunderstand as ‘perky happiness’, but rather the kind of quiet assurance amidst the intensity of suffering.
I made a decision to follow Jesus when I was a child, understanding that I was a sinner condemned to face the wrath of God, and I needed a Saviour. I was moved by a loving God who chose to save me, and my yearning for wholeness was met in being brought into a right relationship with God. Over the years as my understanding of God’s intentions for our world have been made clearer, I see how all my inherent longings square with the God of the Bible, who promises a perfect world in which our chief delight is knowing Him unhindered, and having our hearts filled with the joy of being in perfect relationship with Him. Today as a Christian, with the assurance of such hope, it is impossible to hold lightly the means by which this hope was made possible – the Cross of Jesus, saving sinners from our deserved punishment and showering us with undeserved joys. It is at this Cross that my pride is destroyed, and where I am made complete in God, just as it was always meant to be.
2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.