"The Problem of Pain", “Love Letter”, Christianity, church, goodness, hurt, LONELINESS, Love of God, pain, reality, sickness, trials, tribultions
Why does it hurt, Lord?
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to.
God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
I had an interview a couple weeks ago, and the interviewer told me he was a Christian. We talked a bit, and he said his 6 yr old grandson had just been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. He was struggling with this. He said the child asked him why God was mad at him. He was actually asking my opinion.
So, I carefully asked a few foundational questions concerning the Nature of GOD:
1. Is GOD sovereign?
2. Does GOD love each of us equally?
If GOD is Sovereign …
The concept of GOD’s sovereignty rests on His nature as Creator. If He designed and created all things, then He ought to have “sovereign” control in the design and functionality of all He created. Isn’t that the “fair” thing? Whatever we create, we expect to “control,” yes?
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. ~ Jeremiah 18: 5-6
If GOD is sovereign, He can rightfully do with each of us as He pleases. It is really that simple. So then, the companion question revolves around the perfect Love of GOD.
Does GOD love each of us equally?
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
There are many more parts of the Bible that talk about, define, and express the boundless unconditional Love of God freely given to you and me. In fact, honestly the entire Bible is one giant “Love Letter” explaining how deep, how wide, how high, and how limitless GOD’S LOVE is for us. He created us for His pleasure, to have an open friendship with Him. To apprehend that the Creator of the Universe desires an intimate friendship with us, with each of us, as David says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Ps 139:6)
“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love”, and look on things as if man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. “Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest “well pleased”.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
The Problem of Pain, by C. S. Lewis, takes a deeper look at the difficulty so many Believers, and the Church at large, have with the reality of PAIN. Sometime in the last century, the Western Church adopted a wrong mentality in the belief that becoming a Christian meant suddenly that all pain and difficulty would be removed from our lives. To accept that belief is to deny reality AND the ability of GOD to walk us through pain.
In fact,Jesus promises us pain … tribulation, affliction, difficulty – whatever word fits your situation or mine.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16: 33
Why would Jesus bother to say this if He planned to remove all our pain?
Pain is a part of the human condition, and it is here to stay. Going back to the statement the interviewer’s grandson made, the fact that this child has diabetes is not an indication of GOD’s wrath or disapproval. Nor is it a curse, a punishment, or just for fun.
I don’t pretend to understand why beautiful, loving people are stricken with cancer or helpless children become victims of abuse. This much I do know: GOD loves endlessly, so I have to trust that GOD, in His sovereignty, has a GOOD purpose even in those events or situations that seem irredeemable because GOD is good and He cannot move against his nature.
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
James 1 starts with this admonition:
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James tells us that our “trials” have divine purpose, and that purpose involves growing something in us of Christ, that we “lack nothing!” So we’re encouraged to “count is all JOY!” Elsewhere, we’re told to “In everything, give thanks!”
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 136: 1-2
It’s all a matter of perspective.
Seeking perfection in this life will only bring us disappointment and despair, while rehearsing GOD’s GOODNESS will enable us to savor richness of this life.
The facts remain. GOD will never leave you no matter what happens. His love for you and I doesn’t hinge on our behavior, our attitude, or our faith! GOD chooses to love us … each of us. He gave us hundreds of promises and He is not able to lie because He IS Truth. He is not able to break His promises because His name is “Faithful and True!”
“There is no security is what God is doing. There is only security is who God is!” ~ Graham Cooke”
Related: 12 Things To Thank God For In The Midst Of Affliction