Last night I was obliged (long story) to watch the movie Letters From God. The movie is about a child suffering from cancer who writes letters addressed simply to “God” and mails them via the U.S. Postal Service. As it turns out, God is outside even the reach of the U.S. Mail, so the story is about how others are touched by the things he writes in the letters. The movie overall was a bit sappy for my taste, but it started me thinking about some pretty terrible things; things such as children suffering from cancer, children homeless and starving, adults for that matter suffering from sickness that can’t be cured and from destitute poverty. And then there is the evil that mankind intentionally inflicts on one another, not just on the grand scope like war and oppression, but on the individual scope; abuse, rape, murder, etc.
I was reminded of the time I spent as a youth pastor. At one time, we had a boy in our youth group who suffered from leukemia. He had the best medical care available anywhere and won some victories against the disease, but they were temporary victories. When I would visit him in the local Children’s Hospital on the cancer wing, the horror and injustice of where I was would hit me fresh every time. The cancer wing of a Chidren’s hospital ! There shouldn’t be a need for such a place!! What a horrid world we live in where such a place is not only needed, but never lacks for occupants!
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. All over this world there are multiplied myriads of tales of suffering and horror inflicted upon on people of every age and background. From our doorstep to the other side of the planet, there are endless tales of anguish and torment being endured by multitudes.
And as these thoughts came to into my mind, another thought came as well; a thought pulled from the pages of Lewis’ Perelandra, a resounding clarion call that I think echoes in the back of our minds every day: “This can’t go on!” As Ransom saw the evil that was coming upon Perelandra from Weston’s constant tempting he had a revelation, an epiphany. He realized that some things are so vile, so evil, that they simply can not be allowed to continue, no matter what one must do to stop it. He realized, as if Maleldil were whispering it in his ear, “This can’t go on!”
And I wondered, have we heard the call so long and so often that we have become deaf to it? When we see people suffering from the evil that is in the world, whether it is the impersonal evil of disease and poverty, or the deliberate infliction of suffering by others, how often do we hear Maleldil’s call, “This can’t go on,” but push it aside? Maybe we don’t know what we can do. Maybe the task just seems too big. But I think that many times we hear the very call that Ransom heard, and just don’t know how to stop the evil we see.
A very long time ago our world had a king and a queen, and when Weston came in the form of a serpent there was no Ransom around to bash his head in with a rock. Now, we are left with an entire history filled with repeated pain and suffering and oppression. And yet, I still hear … I believe we all still hear … the same call. “This can’t go on!!”
On this, the Wardrobe forums’ last day, in memory of this great place and of our beloved Lewis, I pray that we can all hear this call, and to make it our own. I pray that each of us can let this call spring from our own heart and even our own lips. I hope that we can each see some suffering or injustice or evil which we personally can stop or mitigate, and that we can let that call come forth and become action; that we can say of something which we see before us, ”This can’t go on!!!”
Now, I know that there is far more suffering in this world than any one of us could ever put a dent in. But, I think each one of us could find one thing, one small area where we can personally make a difference. We can each find something we are passionate about. We can each search our hearts and … for those of us who believe this way, pray for guidance … to know what we can personally do to make a difference; to know what we can personally do to see to it that, in fact, this doesn't go on!!
Now, I don’t know what I’m going to do myself yet. These thoughts just came to me last night. But I know I must do something. I know it won’t be as simple as bashing someone’s head in with a rock, but I do know, “This can’t go on!”
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."