You’ve probably tramped yourself out to ogle Avatar, James Cameron’s latest silver screen bonanza, by now. I’ve taken it in myself, twice. No doubt about it, James Cameron is “king of the (movie) world” for another go around at least, generating more social buzz than a million meadows of busy bees inhaling a new kind of flower. In point of fact, he told us this was going to happen.

What Cameron probably didn’t anticipate, however, is a new phenomenon called “Post Avatar Syndrome,” other times referred to as “Avatar Depression.” I’ll quote an article I read recently here:

“(CNN) — James Cameron’s completely immersive spectacle “Avatar” may have been a little too real for some fans who say they have experienced depression and suicidal thoughts after seeing the film because they long to enjoy the beauty of the alien world Pandora.”

One fan wrote, “When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning.” Another said, “I was depressed because I really wanted to live in Pandora, which seemed like such a perfect place.”

What’s going on here? Is this just mass hysteria? Immature obsession? Taking a movie too far, farther than Cameron would ever have wanted us to?

I don’t think so. I think this is proof that “eternity is written on the hearts of men,” as Solomon put it. In other words, James Cameron, without realizing what he was doing, tapped into a primal desire pumping through the veins of every human being, a longing put there by God himself: A hunger for heaven.

Moviegoers don’t want Pandora. Not really. They want the paradise they’ve been created for. Something about Pandora calls to them, and they are understandably unnerved when something inside of them calls back.

I didn’t have this reaction to Avatar (maybe the Imax version will do it for me), but the final fifteen minutes of Peter Jackson’s opus, The Return of the King, literally smashed me. The music, the golden shafts of light, the childlike joy, the reunions, the goodbyes, even the sailing off into the sunset… all these things called to me, to my spirit, and my spirit called back. Made me want heaven more than this world. Made this life seem gray in comparison.

So what’s the cure for Post Avatar Syndrome? It comes in two parts. The Now, and the Not Yet.

NOW: Realize that your true longing is for heaven, that people were created to live in a pristine, undefiled world that awaits just beyond the realm of our senses. That this is not your home. But don’t push that feeling away. Don’t medicate or distract yourself. Let it consume you.

And more importantly, realize that the reason heaven calls to you is that the One who created it is also calling you, drawing you to himself, and that he wants to spend eternity in paradise with you. So much, in fact, that he gave himself (in Jesus) as a sacrifice to pay for and cleanse you of the sin he would never allow into the perfection of his paradise so you could enter it undefiled.

If you want “Pandora,” then accept his call, give him your heart, your trust, your love—because he’s worth it and his promise is real enough to satisfy the deepest aches and longings of your soul. Even Pandora is just a gray wasteland compared to the glory that awaits those who say YES to Jesus Christ. You will get glimpses of heaven now, on this earth—foretastes that will amp up your desire until you want nothing else, nothing more. And your greatest joy will be to spend your life serving the One who arranged all this for you to enjoy for eternity.

NOT YET: Realize that a day is coming, as sure as the sunset, when Pando- er, I mean, heaven, will be yours. Leona Lewis’ beautiful song, “I see you,” is really about waking up to Jesus, though I’m sure she doesn’t realize it:

I see you, I see you
Walking through a dream
I see you
My light in darkness breathing hope of new life
Now I live through you and you through me
I pray in my heart that this dream never ends
I see me through your eyes

Living through life flying high
Your life shines the way into paradise
So I offer my life as a sacrifice
I live through your love
You teach me how to see

All that’s beautiful
My senses touch your word I never pictured
Now I give my hope to you
I surrender
I pray in my heart that this world never ends
I see me through your eyes
Living through life flying high

Your love shines the way into paradise
So I offer my life
I offer my love, for you
When my heart was never open
(and my spirit never free)
To the world that you have shown me
But my eyes could not division
All the colours of love and of life ever more.

Now you know.