Pain is inevitable. We all feel it. Physical pain can be crippling. Emotional pain can be paralyzing. Pain can come in a thousand forms. Everyone has pain on some level. A failed marriage. A prodigal child. A failing business. A dying dream. Pain is a common denominator. Because we live in a fallen world and because we are sinners, pain is a reality.
Don’t let some happy-go-lucky philosopher tell you differently. Don’t let some prosperity preacher convince you to ignore the reality of pain. If pain is not a reality, the God owes Job and many others an apology. If pain is just something that existed before the health and wealth gospel came around, then God owes the first-century martyrs an explanation.
Aristotle noted that we can’t learn without pain. Pain is a reality check. It forces us to stop and think and ask questions. Many of the questions will never be answered, but God is gracious enough to allow us to ask. Pain will make you bitter or better. It can suck you through a keyhole or cause you to climb Mount Perspective to get a better view. C. S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Let’s be careful not to fall into the “my pain is worse than your pain” trap. You can’t compare pain. Each painful incident in life carries its own weight. The danger is when we let pain dominate our every thought, when every waking moment is focused on the pain. We can live with pain, but we can’t live abundantly if the pain is more real to us than the God of all comfort and the Father of Mercies.
So what’s sucking the life out of you right now? What has you restless at night? What causes you to weep, mourn, fear, or run? And what do you do if you know it’s not going away any time soon? Might I suggest faith, hope, and love? Have faith in God that He sees, knows, and cares. Hope for a better tomorrow. If there can’t be a better tomorrow, then know that our hope is not tied to our circumstances but to our Christ. He is the hope of the world and of our daily lives. Love the Lord with all your heart. Love other people who are going through painful circumstances.
The painful reality is that the pain may not go away. The greater reality is, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus was a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief. He knows. He cares. He loves you.
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Interesting article. I have no opinion on C.S Lewis and his theoretical standpoint on pain and suffering. I mean i get it, pain is supposed to ‘condition’ us not to forget God or be self sufficient and continue sinning. My only problem is that pain fuels the flame of doubt and it undermines a believer’s faith. Is pain worth it if faith is at risk of crumbling?(Rhetorical question)