Before I answer your question, let me tease out one of the things in it that I think is very, very important to us. There is a kind of myth that most of us live with that when we go through very difficult things, the day after will be a little bit easier. And the day after that will be a little bit easier. It’s like the half-life of suffering, it just erodes over time. What you’re identifying, I think, is what is more ordinary for us. That there are sufferings in life that it seems as though the farther we get from them, the louder they become, or at least they don’t seem to be dissipating over time. So, I think my first point is that it is our anticipation with really difficult forms of suffering in our lives, that they will be jarring until the day that we die.
So, thank you very much for the question. You probably know the answer I’ll start with. “Will you ever feel fully safe this side of heaven?” No. No, you won’t. C. S. Lewis, anticipating perhaps this question, and his version of heaven that he gives in The Chronicles of Narnia, the first thing he says is that you will notice you’re in heaven when you can’t notice fear. That you feel safe, that you try to conjure fear and you’re not able to do it. So, what’s C.S. Lewis saying? He’s saying that we all live with certain insecurities and this lack of safety. Now, given that, here’s what else that you know, that we can grow, that we can indeed grow. And we want to pray the very words of God, right back to him.
Lord, for example, in Psalm 46, you are our fortress, our rock. And may today you be more of a fortress, and may tomorrow you be more of a fortress. And then you talk to your friends. How have you known God as a fortress? Well, there are only two ways that conversation can go. One is, “I haven’t thought of it, but it’s a nice idea.” In which case you can pray together for the Spirit to give you more of the strong God who comes and brings those who have been wounded close to his heart. Or you can hear a person’s story about how they have been refreshed in knowing the strong and loving God who has been their rock and their protector. So, here’s what you know, we will not be fully done with fears and anxieties and feeling unsafe in this world. But we also know that we can bring glory to God by growing, because so much of life right now is for heaven to be coming to earth. We are, after all, citizens of heaven and we would like to surprise those around us as they see heaven entering more and more into our own lives. Thanks for the question.