“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”~ C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
I recently posted this in a comment on another blog and felt the Lord wanted me to share it with you all.
When we suffer pain, God has a purpose in it. First it makes us to turn to Him alone when everything else in our lives has “gone south.” I had to reach the end of myself before I surrendered to Christ in 1970. If He had not come to me when He did, I would have ended my life. He picked me up and gave me His beauty for my ashes, His joy for my mourning, and His praise in my heart for the spirit of depression and suicide.
Then phase two started, God’s child training. After a wonderful honeymoon with Jesus that lasted ten months, the pain started again, but this time it was my Daddy taking me out to the woodshed (see Hebrews ch. 12). I then went through years of church abuse and disillusionment with what calls itself “the church,” because I found it to be the same dysfunctional family that I grew up with. My father was an alcoholic, but this time the booze of choice was power over the people. God had to let me get kicked around in that system until I quit looking to men for what only He could give. Jesus’ words, “Call no man father, teacher or Rabbi (pastor)” finally took on new meaning and scope. Christ was to become my all in all and He shares that place with no man.
More recently another thing has been happening along the lines of what Paul alluded to in his letters. For years I have licked my wounds and felt the pain of what others have done to me, but now He is letting me feel the pain of what I have done (and am doing) to others instead. It is part of “the fellowship of His sufferings” (See Philippians 3:10). Paul said about a healthy body, “when one member suffers, all members suffer.” I rarely saw this in all my years of church going. Most of my life I have been so absorbed in my own pain that I could not feel what I was doing to others and could not feel Jesus’ pain. He stands before the Father ever making intercession for us as our High Priest who is acquainted with our humanity and sufferings in a very real way. He has been making me feel His empathy as well – feeling the pain and sufferings that others are going through whom I have not affected directly. Paul spoke of wanting to “know the fellowship of His sufferings” and “filling up the sufferings of Christ” in himself. This happens when we finally start to walk as He walks upon this earth, and gladly start embracing the pain that death might work in us so that life might abound to others. It is no longer about “our little owie ” any more, but us reaching out beyond our pain in Christ’s love for others because of our love for Him–such a great love that we even want to be conformed to His death.
“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
Love you all,