Kiekegaard comes to the matter of wishing and seeking. He does admit the limits of the one who merely is wishing for this — it is never expressly stated, only hinted at. The limits are that he is seeking some “definite place.” If he is wishing to find “the stillness”, he will never find that stillness: the stillness is not someplace one can go.
And so wishing is limited, not because of its object but because of its ignorance. The wisher does not know whether his movements bring him nearer or leave him further away.
But the one who gives up wishing is worse still. This one has “exchanged the precarious wealth of the wish for the certain wretchedness of mediocrity!” I will do without the wish and without the stillness.
He shifts the focus, again. The logical connection is not explicit, this implies that; rather it is suggestive, requiring the reader to ask, why this topic here?
The possible suggestion here is that, you could wish or seek for any number of things. The only thing which you could encounter “which is not determined by its relation to others … and this good is God.” This is the greatest thing for which one could wish for which one could seek.
Then he ties together this concept of wishing and seeking (without knowledge of how to find) with God. The movement here is striking. The wisher is wandering about and then “he is startled, and the expression for his wonder is worship.”
When one comes upon God, or the realization that God is there the moment of confrontation is one of “wonder.” He then unpacks “wonder” as follows, wonder contains “both fear and bliss.”
Is that fair or true? One cannot simply read Kierkegaard without pausing repeatedly to reflect. But I cannot say this definition is wrong. Nothing focuses the attention quite so well as fear, but rather than retreating — which is the normal response to fear – one is also transfixed, hence the bliss.
He then provides this marvelous discussion of worship
The worship is therefore mingled fear and happiness.
Even the most purified and rational worship of God is
happiness in fear and trembling,
confidence in deadly peril,
frankness in the consciousness of sin.
This underscores the paradox of seeking God which he raised above: One must come to this God in purity of heart and as a sinner. The saint is the most acutely aware of danger.
I think of the story of Peter in the boat with Jesus:
On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 and he saw two boats by the lake, but the fishermen had gone out of them and were washing their nets. 3 Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. 4 And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” 6 And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. 7 They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 8 But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Any number of such stories could be found in the Bible. To be confronted with the knowledge that God is here is both fascinating and terrifying; I cannot look away and I cannot come nearer.
If this is worship, then why do we settle for emotional inflammation? Do we actually truly want to be “startled” by God?