Yesterday Shauna and I ploughed through six LOST episodes to catch up to the finale, then spent the evening white-knuckled and teary-eyed watching the last episode. As a LOST follower, I’m sad the ride is finally over. As a writer, I was both impressed and confused. As a Christ follower, I’m pleased with the questions LOST invited us to ponder these past six years. Consider these (there are many, many more we could focus on):
1. What about all the loose ends?
2. Does my being here matter? Is there a grand purpose?
3. Can people really change?
4. Is dead really dead?
I’m going to take the rest of the week to unpack these questions. Today:
What about all the loose ends?
I can’t think of another television series (or movie, or novel) that’s ever raised so many questions, split so many hairs, followed so many characters. J.J. Abrams did a masterful job of exploring his characters’ back stories in such a way that they became integral to the plot. The problem was, every question was a hydra in disguise—every time the head of a question was lopped off and answered, two more sprung up to take its place. What this meant for the finale was that he literally had hundreds of questions to tackle. Sure, there were six or seven questions all of us wanted answered: What is the island? What was all this about, ultimately? Is MIB trying to leave with everyone, or kill them? How does the Dharma initiative fit into this Jacob/MIB thing? Where did the island come from? Were the oceanic survivors alive, or is this some kind of purgatory?
But then there are a couple hundred questions left dangling there that cannot possibly be addressed in a single two and a half hour episode. What did Juliet mean when she said, “It worked?” What happened to Richard? Did Vincent the dog symbolize something more important? At first blush, it seems that Abrams tried to answer maybe four of the BIG questions, and a few of the smaller ones, leaving the rest for speculative fodder. But what he actually tried to do is what God is going to do when history wraps up for humanity’s big finale. The Bible claims that all of history is one epic tale, and that all our little stories are part of that larger story—both in terms of advancing the plot and giving our little stories meaning.
Let me pose a few BIG human questions: Where did God come from? Why does he allow evil to exist? Does any of this matter? How does the devil fit into all this? What is the meaning of life?
Let me pose a few PERSONAL human questions: Why did your uncle Frank die of Cancer? Why did you get passed over for the promotion? Why is your marriage so dang hard? Why were you born with a slow metabolism that makes it difficult not to gain weight?
So what did Abrams attempt to do that God will someday succeed at?
Abrams answered as many of the big questions as he could manage in the finale—but ultimately, the power of that last episode lay not in the logic of its answers, but in the glory of its satisfaction. I have a million questions still hanging there, some of which I’ll work out, but I think I’m okay with not knowing some things because Sayid and Shannon got together. Charlie and Claire were reunited. Jin and Sun and baby were reunited. Jack reconciled with his father and found himself. Ben comes around. And much, much more.
In the end, I believe all the BIG questions about real life on earth will be answered in heaven. I think paradise will be one giant series of “aha” moments and glorious reunions. I also think that, over time, many little questions will be answered. But even if they aren’t, I believe that the tidal wave of eternal joy will render many of those questions moot. We won’t lie around in heaven clutching our hair, muttering, “But… what about… I don’t get it.” Pure joy, forever.
Won’t that be nice?
“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all… (Jesus) will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who is seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (II Corinthians 3:17; Revelation 21:4,5)
Can’t wait for the real finale.
NEXT: Does my being here matter? Is there a grand purpose?