I don’t understand why we have to have pain. I’ve experienced emotional and spiritual pain early in life and then physical pain the last few years with breast cancer and back pain. I had severe back and leg pain for a few days last week when I was on vacation probably due to the drug I take to prevent breast cancer again.
Pain colors your whole world gray when you can’t control it; last week I was in agony, unable to sit or stand, saying, “Lord, if you’ll just relieve my pain, I’ll do whatever you ask.” I’d tried ice, hot packs, pain relievers and drugs for muscle spasms, all without relief. And then again, “Lord, if you’ll just relieve my pain, I’ll do whatever you ask.”
I realize how foolish that sounds, trying to bargain with God. I should be willing to do whatever He asks all the time. Unfortunately, when I am healthy and pain-free is when I feel on top of the world and I go about my business, thinking I don’t need God. But it’s when my back or my heart hurts that I run straight to Him for help.
C. S. Lewis wrote The Problem of Pain and had two insightful comments on suffering and pain:
“But if suffering is good, ought it not to be pursued rather than avoided? I answer that suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God, and for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads.”
“The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”
So my horrible back pain last week was not good in itself, but instead did bring about my submission to God. I must remember that the fun and happy times I experience bring about joy here on Earth, but are nothing compared to what heaven will be like! The pain makes me acutely aware that I have a much more wonderful eternal life waiting for me in the future.
Do you have physical, emotional or spiritual pain in your life? What does it mean for you?
Blessings, my friend,