Pete Wilson on Desire, Idols and Empty Promises
The author of 'Plan B' talks about his new book and what it really means to have 'the good life'.
Your first book, Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would, was received very well. What did you think about it?
It was really humbling. I don’t know what I expected when I wrote the book, but I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response. I think it was a reminder for me how everybody needs healing. Everybody has a shattered dream. Everybody has disappointment and discouragement, and I think I knew that going into writing Plan B, but the response from people reinforced it.
What’s great about this book Empty Promises, is that it’s about another universal issue of wanting and figuring out which things you should be chasing and which things are not going to deliver. You compare empty promises with idols. A lot of people immediately think of idols as some golden and wooden statue that people worship.
I was in India a couple of years ago, and we were at this temple. An extremely long line of women were buying these red, ribbon streams from these priests. Then they would tie them on this big dead tree. I remember asking what are they doing and [it’s] a fertility tree. They buy this holy string, tie it on the tree, say their prayers, and they believe this god of fertility – this dead tree – is going to up their chances of having a child. I remember getting on the van and thinking that’s so silly. Who would ever buy into that? And then I thought, as ridiculous at that sounds, it is equally as ridiculous for me to think if I make a little more money next year than this year that somehow I’m going to be happier or that if I move up a position at work that I’m finally going to feel like I’m alive or that I have some kind of value. I started to realize that idolatry in our culture primarily is what we set our hearts on to bring us satisfaction and fulfillment and they never really do, ever.
What do you say to the fact that we as human beings are naturally creatures of wanting?
We are. In our hearts we are wired to worship something. We’re all wired to make something ultimate in our life, so that’s part of what I tried to get to with the book. All the longings you have in your life are God-given longings. I kind of dreamed of this day where we all begin to realize that God placed these longings in us ultimately to draw us closer to Him, because everything else in this world is going to leave you empty and wanting more. It’s only in Him and through Him that we really begin to find the satisfaction, the acceptance, and the forgiveness that our heart is really longing for.