[Picture credits at the end.]
Sometimes, we only learn of His care through the times of trauma and pain. I don’t know why this is I just know that it is. It is not a story of which Christians down through the ages have been unaware. C.S. Lewis put it this way:
“Pain insists upon being attended to.
God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience,
but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: HarperCollins, 1940/1996), 91.
- When the body is weary from three weeks of sleeplessness,
- When the synapses of the mind are stressed by the agony of a thousand decisions of equal importance,
- When the heart is crushed by the shock of an ancient friendship’s end,
- When the receding years are filled with regret,
- When the remaining years feel grim and thankless,
- When your health is compromised and your body is slow to recover,
- those are the times when the richness of His love and the tenderness of His care break upon our encrusted and hardened heart and we see Him in a new and pristine way.
- When the storms seem ready to swamp the boat and Jesus seems absent,
- those are the times when our hearts have nowhere to turn but to Him.
And all turns to Him are good. Affliction then, is a tool in the hands of the Great Physician, to cut out of our dross-encrusted hearts the idols that obsure our vision of Him. That’s what Psalm 119 says:
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep your word.
You are good and do good;
. teach me your statutes.
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
. that I might learn your statutes.
I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
. and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Psalm 119:67-68, 71, 75
“Lord, I want a different process. I want an easier road. I want less pain and more gain. But Lord, if affliction
- is the process that will keep me from going astray from Your word,
- if heartache and sorrow and loss will be guided by Your good hand, that I might learn Your statutes,
- if in faithfulness You will break me that I might become useful to You,
then give me the courage to pray with boldness that You would use every means to grow the character of Christ in me. For the glory of Your name, I ask it.”
Picture Credits: Larger picture of woman pinned to her pain “The Pain Sculpture” unknown sculpter
Head in grimace: Franz Messershmidt (German artist 1736-1783)
Black artist Karon Davis, “Pain Management” grieving the loss of her husband
Rodin: “Men of weakness, men of power”