But of late, I have found myself repelled by these exposÃ©s and breaking news stories; finding them to be both devastating and utterly cruel.
But late last night, as I lay alert in my bed, a story invaded my computer screen. And before I could comprehend the repercussions that would inevitably follow, before I could obstruct its malevolence from occupying my mind…I began to absorb each and every horrific detail over and over again.
The news story, keyed in deep crimson, read "Two brothers, previously jailed for cannibalism, have been arrested again after a gruesome discovery. Here's the latest on the investigation…"
In truth, I wanted to continue scrolling past this horror.
But before my mind could fully comprehend the actions of my body, my hand had somehow navigated its way towards the link, and I began to read a horrifying story involving children, severed heads and cannibalistic brothers.
But why I did not stop there is beyond me. I clicked another story. This one read…'Man who plotted to kill and eat children gets more than 26 years in prison'.
I felt my stomach stir and convulse with recently digested coffee. Why oh why had I read the story? I wanted to forget…immediately.
But I couldn't forget. My mind had already conjured up images which began to dance and move around me. Images of basements, and tortured children; bound for sexual exploitation and finally dismemberment.
I felt sick. And I was angry.
This sadism seared itself into my mind. And the joys that I had experience earlier that night, started to dwindle as I was once again reminded that the world was a frightful and dark place, alive with cruelty and evil.
The harsh reality
Through living in the Philippines, I have come to see evil in many forms, particularly through the guise of poverty.
I have seen the injustices of poverty, especially though health services, or should I say lack thereof. I have come to see the demoralisation of poverty, which can affect generation after generation.
And I have seen the absurdity of poverty, especially in a country awash with millionaires, giant shopping complexes and wealthy mega churches. Yet despite this constant exposure to inequality and cruelty and corruption, there are still times when I pleasantly forget how far this world has fallen.
I have a naive moment when I see all things as beautiful. But this feeling never lasts. And it is not long before I see how far this world continues to hurtle away from Gods perfect love.
But there's still so much joy to be found in the world, right?
Although evil has inhabited this world, we cannot diminish the many precious and joyful moments that are unfolding, even now, throughout this vast planet.
And in those moments, in those instances, we must of course stand tall and rejoice.
But this world is so very far from perfection and as a consequence we are often scarred or burnt so deeply. And when this inevitably happens we find ourselves crying out…asking where oh where our God could possibly beâ€"a cry I'm sure these Pakistani parents are uttering following the brutal murder of their young child by two cannibalistic brothers.
Surely this world feels wholly frightful and ugly to these grieving parents.
But there is a hope for all of us beyond these horrors.
It is a life beyond this world. A life of sanctuary and joyfulness and righteousness.
It is a life with our Lord and saviour.
And whilst at times I know that this promise may not comfort some, for me this future brings such relief, as I know that one day justice will be seen. And those that were unloved, and dejected and slain will finally be welcomed into the arms of a Father that will forever protect and comfort them.
So when I read stories such as these or I see children wasting away in their small shelters within Payatas dumpsite, I am reminded of a promise beyond this world. I am reminded that although sin inhabits this world, seeking to destroy and demolish the lives of so many, there is a place that will provide refuge, and love.
And in that promise I rejoice!
Alison Barkley lives in Newcastle and is a post graduate student at Deakin University. Alison is serving in the Philippines with an aid organisation.
Alison Barkley's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/alison-barkley.html