‘All the Light We Cannot See’ Reminds Me to Look for God

The novel and Netflix show explore scriptural themes of light and dark—and the cosmic reign of Christ.

My wife and I spent our honeymoon in St. Lucia, an island known for its two iconic mountains that rise from the Caribbean like majestic guardians. At breakfast one morning, with the mountains behind us, I remember asking my wife, “Do you think people who live here ever get tired of looking at them?”

Twenty years later, I’d answer my own question: yes. The grind of life acts like melatonin. We all grow sleepy toward creation and toward our Creator. And sleepy people, at best, miss much of what God has for us in this life. At worst, we can become so oblivious that we perpetuate great evil without realizing what we are doing.

Yet God has a way of using both beauty and tragedy like smelling salts, awakening us to realities we’d otherwise suppress or ignore. The beauty of a newborn or the shock of war can remind us to look around, to remember that there is more to life than the little we usually notice.

One practice that helps to keep my eyes open to the reality of God and his world is to reread my favorite novel nearly every year since it was published. The book is All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr’s World War II story, which won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted as a four-part Netflix miniseries that premiered this past Friday.

I’m still working through the series myself. So far, there are some changes from the book—mostly, I assume, for concision. But as I talk with friends who also love the book and are watching the series, they report enjoying the acting and the attempt to bring such a powerful, sprawling story to a big-budget production.

Doerr’s tale centers on Marie-Laure, a blind French girl hiding from German invaders, and Werner, a young man in the Hitler Youth. They’re …

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