Is Our Desire Too Weak?

From David Murray:


Why does heaven feel so far away? Why does Jesus seem so distant?

Recent research* by Emily Balcetis and David Dunning indicates that the desirability of an object influences its perceived distance. Thirsty students fed with pretzels perceived a water bottle to be nearer than those who had had their thirst quenched. Other students placed in front of a $100 bill they could win for themselves perceived it to be closer than those who were told that the bill belonged to the scientist conducting the test. A third set of students had their sense of humor graded and clipped to a stand in front of them. Those given positive feedback estimated the stand to be closer than those who could see their feedback was negative. Other similar experiments confirmed the finding that desire reduces the perception of distance.

Is this why heaven often seems so far away? We don’t desire it enough?

Is this why Jesus sometimes seems so distant? We don’t desire Him enough?

But if desire reduces the distance, “Lord Jesus, give the desire and reduce the distance.”

*Balcetis, E., & Dunning, D. (2009). “Wishful Seeing: More Desired Objects Are Seen as Closer.” Psychological Science.

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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