Scenes and Stones: John Carter

By GJ Frye

Not of this world. We are in this world but not of this world. Our spirits are drawn to our Father and to our Savior. We may live in this world, and we may be born to this world, but we are not of this world.

“John Carter” is the story of a Virginia Civil War Veteran who is sick of all the conflict and disgrace of humanity. He simply wishes to reach a cave of gold to set himself up that he might live a comfortable life until he dies.

But John Carter, the title character and the hero of this story, found something far more valuable than gold in the cave he was so desperate to reach. He found that the world he lived in, particularly the gold he sought after, could not scratch the surface in satisfying the desires he had.  The only possible answer to Carter’s dilemma, when all the world had to offer could not give him a valid solution, is that he was made for another world.

We often find ourselves with grand dreams to do God’s will in our lives. I know I have. I desire to be close to God and align myself with Him. I think we all experience a desire that goes beyond the level of satisfaction we’d like in our spiritual lives. We often hear in church and from spiritual leaders that we should never be satisfied with where we are in our relationship with Him.

The things our souls yearn for, like love or joy, are only hinted at on earth. As C.S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.” The pleasures of this world are only small glimpses of joy we will someday experience. We cannot even begin to imagine the wonders in store for us in a place where our souls will be constantly overflowing in the love and joy and strength of our Father in heaven. The most exciting and adrenaline-stimulating events we undergo do not even hold candles to the awe-inspiring eternal moments we will experience in heaven.

Carter had been looking for his cave of gold, of physical wealth for material comfort. When he found that the cave was actually a gateway, that he was transported to a completely different world than his own,  he was astonished. Despite his lingering greed for the cave of gold, he soon realized the world he had left behind was not the world he was made for. He discovered that Barsoom, as we call Mars, was his true home and the wealth he found there was far more grand than anything he could have dreamed of. He went from being John Carter of Virginia to being John Carter of Mars.

In all of our soul searching, in all of our earthly travels, we must all come to the point of revelation where we understand our nature is not of earth, but of the kingdom of heaven. In coming to this understanding we can only do one of two things: Ignore it and continue to live for ourselves our entire lives, which in the grand scheme is but a blink of an eye, or focus on all that is eternal, such as love, joy or – more importantly – our neighbors, who are also not of this world and with whom we will be sharing eternity.

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