“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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
The Spirit of the Lord has prompted me to reprise a portion of something I wrote almost six years ago. I trust that it has special meaning for some of you who read it.
C.S. Lewis once wrote that “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.”
Here are the last three of six thoughts that I wrote:
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.
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.
As Christians, we need to remember that “healing from within suffering is as wonderful as healing from suffering”.
Take time and read 2 Corinthians 1:1-8, 4:16-18 and Romans 8:18-39.
Something to think about…