Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Problem of Pain

I keep going back to The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis.  I'm a self described Lewis junkie so it isn't really a surprise that I continually am reading his books but this one I feel particularly drawn too.  As I said previously, I'm going through a horrendous flare up of my fibromyalgia and so I think the concept of pain speaks to me especially right now. 

The fibro has been such a part of my life from such an early age that definitely made me think about things in an uncommon way.  I would so love to be better and to understand why all this is happening with me but, like Paul, even though I've prayed, my thorn in the flesh hasn't been taken away and the reasons for this are still murky.  I, in my humanity, want to know why. 

I think that is why I love how Lewis outlines our problem with pain as being a barrier to people coming to know God because if God is good, how can He let this happen?  Is He actually in control?  It is easy to feel that He may not be; I've been there but I can say now, after years of wrestling, I know that He is. 

The beautiful truth of this is ugly pain is that it keeps me entirely dependent on God.  If I didn't have this pain, I'm sure I would fall into believing the lie that I don't need Him, for indeed, my physical state is just a reflection of my spiritual one.  It's funny that is seems easy to forget about God when stuff is going well; we even forget to thank Him.  This is only one reason, I know, for the problem of pain. 

When Paul says that "And we know that God causes all things work together for good to those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose" in Romans 8:28, we need to take him at his word.  I've learned the key is "His purpose" though.  God cares more about condition of our hearts than our happiness and comfort.  If we are only seeking happiness and comfort, we aren't seeking His will. 

The truth is, we aren't God, only He is and so we aren't the ones for holding Him accountable for our suffering.  Rather, we responsible for His suffering when He willingly gave His son, Jesus Christ up to the cross for the propitiation of our sins. 

Even though I don't know the particulars of "why me" and such, it is enough to know that He is working to some greater end than myself, and in that He will be glorified.  I am entirely responsible for my reaction to this miserable pain though.  I can either be angry that this is my path to tread, maybe deny that He is in control despite what scripture says, or draw near to Him and remember what Proverbs 30:5 says, "Every word of God is tested, He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him". 

It's really a reaction for or against God in its essence.  It is my prayer that I choose the latter everyday.

If you get a chance, I'd highly recommend C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain.  It is one of the books that has impacted me the most.

1 comment:

  1. Very good and insightful post, Olivia Grace. I enjoy Lewis myself and will plan to read that book.
    I've spent much of my Christian life pondering and studying about suffering in general... it does touch the human condition everywhere and the Bible does give many answers.
    Hope you are feeling better soon!