As the last weeks of summer dwindle down we could add another chorus of voices to the chirping crickets at nightfall, the refrain emanating from our kids, “We’re so bored!” But before we say kids these days, we need to confess our own sins of boredom. If the American Medical Association were to label boredom a disease, we would have to declare an epidemic.
A few decades back, Neil Postman wrote a scathing critique of American culture, indicting us all for, as the title has it, Amusing Ourselves to Death. Now a few decades later after billions of dollars and countless hours spent in the full-throttled pursuit of pleasure, we have amused ourselves right into boredom. What’s left for us to have? What’s left for us to experience?
Boredom begets a loss of a sense of wonder. Our loss of a sense of wonder begets a loss of appreciation. And our loss of appreciation begets a loss of gratitude—quite a downward spiral. Throughout the pages of Scripture you’ll find that God simply wants us to be grateful. In the Old Testament, ingratitude gets put right on par with idolatry. Shocking. Paul states it plainly in Romans 1 when he charges that even though God has made himself known to us in the visible world, we “did not honor him as God or give thanks to him” (Rom 1:21).
God has placed us in his world. More often than not, we offer up grumblings of ingratitude instead of grateful praises from thankful hearts. God made us and he made us for himself and put us in the world of his design—a world of beauty and wonder. Yet too often we put our hands in our pockets, shrug our shoulders, let out a yawn, and walk off. Since we’ve lost our sense of wonder, we have forgotten to how to say thank you.
Embracing the doctrine of creation, reading creation, is the antidote to boredom and yawning, to ingratitude. How can we yawn at what God has made? When we acknowledge God as creator of all things, we regain our sense of wonder, we regain our sense of appreciation, and we regain our sense of gratitude. We stop yawning. We start hearing the chirping of crickets and we say thank you.
This article is adapted from Welcome to the Story: Reading, Loving, & Living God’s Word by Stephen Nichols.