Jun 8, 2016

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“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

“Suffering is not overcome by leaving pain. Suffering is overcome by bearing pain for the sake of others” (writings of the 14th Dalai Lama)

Our spontaneous reaction to suffering and pain is revulsion. We are afraid of pain and when even the possibility of suffering pain arises, we rush to find ways to eliminate this possibility. We wonder, “Why does a good God allow pain?” More than one person has rejected God, because we humans look for logical reasons when things happen, but we often see no explanation.

C.S. Lewis argues that God uses pain “to rouse a deaf world.” In the film Shadowlands Lewis’ wife, Joy, teaches him that by entering into human relationships we have the possibility of experiencing love; but love inevitably and ultimately is bound up with pain and the sadness of the beloved one’s passing. As Joy says, “That’s the deal.”

I’d like to add my own thoughts. Jesus calls us to also enter into relationships with the poor, the weak and the enemy. However, we are to do this not just to do good to them, but to be with them. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (Matt. 5:44) and Matthew tells us, “He was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously … and be put to death and to be raised on the third day.” (Matt. 16:21) Thus, Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection are both linked and they have become our model.

Bible Study Discussion Questions:

1)Do you agree with Joy Lewis’ “That’s the deal” quote? 2)Why do you think Jesus calls us not only to do good to the weak, poor, enemies etc., but to be, to abide, and it is not to exaggerate to say to live amidst them? 3) Our intellect requires logical understanding. Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me.” Matt. 16:23. What does this quote have to do with intellectual requirements? 4) When God uses pain “to rouse a deaf world” might our task (in part) be to help reduce pain, even if we cannot eliminate it?

Written by Heather Whitehouse, On 1stVP/Chaplain, The King’s Daughters and Sons, June, 2016

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