By Elizabeth Prata
I have Netflix and I enjoy watching the series called The Crown. It’s a fictionalized-kind-of-realistic peek into the Royal Family of Queen Elizabeth II from 1947 to 1969 (so far). Future seasons are supposed to cover the time of her reign into the 21st century. It is a praised series for its acting, cinematography, and relatively accurate portrayal of the Royal Family and the historical incidents they became involved in.
Of course the dialogue and emotional status of any given Buckingham Palace individual can’t be perfectly known, unless gleaned from authorized biographies or interviews. But the series connects the dots very well and in a logical way, so that the Queen’s regret of not having moved faster to deal with the grief of the Welsh town razed by a landslide, or the frustration with her sister Margaret are deduced then presented with a degree of accuracy.
One of the more recent episodes in season 3 is called Moondust. It depicts Prince Philip’s fascination with the 1969 American astronauts’ moon landing and return to earth. A busy and active man who loves technology and science, Prince Philip is depicted as near-obsessed with the achievement. He is also shown as having an existential crisis of deep despair in striving to pour some kind of meaning into his life. The moonshot raised a discontent in him, and he was glued to the television watching the astronauts’ walking around on the moon because it is something higher, better, transcendent. As a result his own life of sacrifice & duty, speeches to the concrete society or awards given to prosthetic dental organizations that he must perform, seem so mundane in comparison. Is this all there is to life?
The TV series people and others say that Prince Philip actually had no such internal crisis, it is all a fiction. It very well might be all a fiction, it’s not for me to say whether the TV show portrayed despair of Philip’s hopeless life without God was actual or made-up.
My point is that the series showed a God-less despair so well that it was painful to watch. I came to Christ in my early 40s and I distinctly remember the futility and despair of the eternal weight hanging over me, not knowing what it was or how to get rid of it. Every person on the planet who is without Jesus feels this, whether they admit it or not.
The episode showed a man living the life of Ecclesiastes so accurately that it hurt. If you ever want to see what it is like for a man to strive after wind, thirst for something higher, seek after more but become frustrated in the search, this is it.
Death comes to all. Every human being knows this. The specter of death hangs before us like the sword of Damocles. We’re never out from under and never escape the dread fact that we all die. What is life for? Why are we here? What happens after we die? Is there a heaven? Worse, is there a hell? These are the thoughts of the carnal man, rising to consciousness but quickly suppressed (Romans 1:18). These are the night haunts. These are the tendrils of fear clutching onto an unconverted heart. The hard truth is,
You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince, and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else that you did not got to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell since you have sat here in the house of God provoking his pure eye by your sinful, wicked manner of attending his solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.
O sinner! consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath that you are held over in the hand of that God whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of Divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it and burn it asunder. ~Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
King Solomon said,
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever..
The carnal man without God is at odds with God but is connected to Him anyway through conscience, knowledge of creation, and the Law written on his heart. He knows something else is out there, transcendent.
Jesus is there. He wants all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30). A man’s life will be infused with meaning, full to the brim, glorifying to God in purity and imputed righteousness. The man will become satisfied with the feast of His word, worthy worship, looking heavenward to the place of holiness. We don’t have to strive after wind forever.
May today be the day of your salvation, May today be the happy day you put your life and soul int the hands of an angry God, whose anger dissipates as he looks at you through His perfect Son. May today be the day your converted heart once again revives for joy at the life we have in Christ.