Have you ever woken up with that disorientating feeling because you forgot for a minute that you were staying at your granny’s? The sheets are strangely heavy, the room is darker than usual, the air is thick with silence… and you panic for a second, thinking “where am I?!”
I had a moment like that last week… During a late night discussion around my friend’s sitting room table, we got onto the contentious topic of abortion. Strong opinions were shared and the room raised a few degrees in temperature as we each tried to understand the other, mentally positioning each other in digestible boxes (“I get it, she’s a Christian”, “Oh right, he’s a feminist”, “Aha, you’re pro-life”). I woke up the next morning thinking “where am I?!” and feeling too angular to be put in a box.
As I churned through the pros and cons of the different opinions, I found myself realizing, no one wins. Essentially we all complain about pain and injustice as we understand or experience it to be. As Sean Mullen pointed out in his article in VOX this month, Stephen Fry is right to complain to God about bone cancer in children. These things are not meant to happen! Balcony disasters, sickness in our families, terror shootings and premature deaths are not meant to happen! We all agree on that.
The fact that people are so repulsed by pain and injustice is not evidence against God, but proof that we have perfection coded into our DNA. As CS Lewis famously said, “if we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
Never have I more acutely felt the truth of Psalm 84:
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.
My heart will be restless until the day when every tear will be wiped away. When I arrive home.
PS – Still to come in this series: the awkward moment when you couldn’t be arsed (I had planned to do this one today but…)