CS Lewis argued that every religion has a flood story, a virgin, a savior figure, because they are all mirroring, echoing, reaching for the truth. In This Is Our Time Trevin Wax expands on this argument and gives it legs. The crux of the book is that every human, whether atheist, agnostic, muslim, jew, Christian, evangelical possesses an innate longing for God, and this longing will out, no matter what our human minds tell us to do with it. He argues that the root of every modern pre-occupation, obsession, idol if you will, is this longing, this desire. The Christian will recognize this as a longing for the creator of the universe, whilst someone might recognize it as a longing for success, possessions, sex, recognition, popularity. The key to every human fault and fallacy, to every human accomplishment and goal is this longing for God.
With not a hint of sarcasm, judgement or evangelical bluster, Wax waxes poetic on modern concerns and their place in the bigger story of this longing for God. He whittles social media down to a desire to know and be known, which is revealed as the longing of every human heart to know and be known by God. He tells stories I am familiar with, of social media and Game of Thrones, but then tells me stories of North Pole expeditions and a pastor from 1777 of which I am not familiar, but all of these things, all of his ideas, his anecdotes, all point to this underlying idea that the world longs for God, and whether it intends to or not expresses that longing in an abundance of forms. In the media we consume, in our pursuit of happiness, in our desire for consumerist advancement, what we really long for is God.
I warn you, this book is not for the feint of heart. It is so well written, and so full of scripture (done so well in the footnotes, which feel more like a dig deeper chapter than scripture in hiding), that it is easy to read in the sense that the words just fall onto your heart and mind. It is full of anecdotes and insight that make it a pleasure to read. But this is not to be read lightly, it will shift the way you look at yourself in this world we live in. It challenges and encourages, it admonishes and offers useful instruction. It will show you the longing in your life, and where that longing is actually directed, while you make every attempt to misdirect it. This book will bear reading again and again in different seasons of my life. It is so culturally relevant right now, but universally applicable. The longing of this book appears to be countercultural, whether you place your cultural stock in things, love, politics or evangelicalism, Wax expresses a faith that is counter to anything not longing for God’s glory, consider me on board.