God’s Megaphone (Part 4 of 4)

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“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

First thought: If you are currently going through a painful experience, it may be difficult for you to read what I am writing. 

Second thought: God does not cause suffering.

Third thought: It is important to seek and derive meaning in our suffering.

Fourth thought: Relief from pain and suffering may not be the main Christian answer to pain and suffering.

Fifth thought: Healing from within suffering is as wonderful as healing from suffering. 

Sixth thought: We need to show readiness to suffer alongside the people whose suffering never gets healed.

And now, the final thought. 

Final Thought: God sees things differently than we do.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” 

God’s thoughts are higher than our grandest thoughts. God’s plans are better than our greatest plans. God sees things differently than we do.

We see ordeals... God sees opportunities. 

We see pain… God sees purpose. 

We see suffering… God sees steadfastness.

We see shattered dreams… God sees the pieces for a new beginning.

Something to think about…

God’s Megaphone (Part 3 of 4)

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“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

First thought: If you are currently going through a painful experience, it may be difficult for you to read what I am writing.

Second thought: God does not cause suffering. 

Third thought: It is important to seek and derive meaning in our suffering. 

Fourth thought: Relief from pain and suffering may not be the main Christian answer to pain and suffering.

Here are the next two thoughts.

Fifth thought: Healing from within suffering is as wonderful as healing from suffering.

Lewis Smedes wrote, “Healing from within suffering is as wonderful as healing from suffering. God gives inner strength that compensates for loss, and gives the sufferer resourcefulness to live faithfully and effectively.”

I personally marvel at people whom I know who live in constant pain and do not disclose the presence of pain by the way they live. With God’s help, they have received healing from within their pain and suffering and can live with joy in the midst of their pain and suffering.

Sixth thought: We need to show readiness to suffer alongside the people whose suffering never gets healed.

Professor Smedes wrote that as Christians, we tend to "expect and celebrate God's triumph over our suffering while we show little readiness to suffer for the people whose suffering never gets healed."

We should never shy away from those whose pain and suffering continues in the midst of persistent prayer and exhaustive endeavors at remedy. We should join them in their pain and suffering. We can’t give them answers we don’t have, but we can give them our presence and our support. In other words, we just love them.

Something to think about…

God’s Megaphone (Part 2 of 4)

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“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 

First thought: If you are currently going through a painful experience, it may be difficult for you to read what I am writing.

Second thought: God does not cause suffering.

Let me continue the thoughts.

Third thought: It is important to seek and derive meaning in our suffering. 

Vicktor Frankl was a World War II Concentration Camp Survivor. He wrote that “When we suffer, the single most important ingredient is seeing purpose in it. Lack of purpose breeds hopelessness; purpose imparts the strength to sustain. Suffering ceases to be suffering in some way at the moment it finds a meaning.”

Brother Lawrence, a Seventeenth Century Monk wrote that “To suffer is one thing, to suffer without meaning is another, but to suffer and choose not to press for any meaning is different again.”

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 

Included in the verses are two little words, which speak volumes, “…so that”. Paul wants give meaning to our afflictions.

Fourth thought: Relief from pain and suffering may not be the main Christian answer to pain and suffering.

(Thoughts four through six come from one of my professors, Lewis Smedes)

Lewis Smedes wrote, “Ministries of healing are not the main Christian answer to suffering. At their very best, they eliminate a particular suffering of a particular person. They do not remove all suffering from life, and there are still many others suffering the same suffering that was just healed. The healings are signs "that God is alive, that Christ is Lord, and that suffering is not the last word about human existence".

If you are in the midst of pain and suffering, perhaps it would be wise to accept that God will eventually give meaning to it all even if you don’t feel it and that relief from your ordeal may not be the main answer from God.

Something to think about…

 

 

God’s Megaphone (Part 1 of 4)

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In light of our All Church Study entitled, “Transformational Transitions: Walking with God in Seasons of Change”, I am going to share a series of blogs originally written in 2012 about God’s Megaphones. As we learned in our All Church Study, transitions which lead to transformation often times include trials and suffering. How should we, as Christians, view pain and suffering? 

C.S. Lewis wrote, “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.” 

I first read this quote when I was experiencing excruciating pain from a bulging disc in my lower back. The pain got so unbearable that I consented to a surgery, which had a fifty percent chance of resulting in permanent paralysis.

Indeed, “God shouts in our pains… it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Over the next few Blogs, I am going to share some thoughts on pain and suffering. 

First thought: If you are currently going through a painful experience, it may be difficult for you to read what I am writing.

C.S. Lewis wrote: “You can’t see anything while your eyes are blurred with tears.”

From the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46b) At the moment He said those words, His suffering was intolerable because He was taking on the sins of the world. Even the Son of God reacted to suffering and pain.

So the wisest thing to do may be to know that your eyes are blurred with tears. 

Second thought: God does not cause pain and suffering.

We suffer because of the choices we make. Sometimes, we make bad choices, which can result in pain and suffering, like Judas choosing to betray Jesus. Other times, we make good choices, which can result in pain and suffering, like Jesus choosing to go the cross for us. 

We suffer because of the choices others make. Jesus’ sufferings were the result of the choices the leaders of Israel and Rome made regarding Him. 

We suffer because we live in a fallen world. If we read and believe Genesis 3, then we know why suffering exists in this world. It’s all about sin.

We suffer because we are fragile. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 that we are all fragile earthen vessels susceptible to “affliction in every way”. Even Superman had his kryptonite.

One thing we can all be sure of is that we all endure pain and suffering oft and on during the course of living. Two things to remember during those seasons in life are that pain and suffering (1) makes life extremely difficult and (2) God did not cause the pain and suffering.

Something to think about…