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PAIN: It Is Part Of The Package

Arranging employment for people with disabilities or other challenges was a fulfilling job that added practical insights as I trained for a ministry that’s drawn me into deeper levels of peoples’ hurts and hopes. Yet pain continues its challenge—especially when it wraps itself around those I care about.

My heart aches for them, even though I know that pain will never have the final say. C.S Lewis, famed author of the “The Screw-tape Letters,” declared: “We may ignore pleasure, but pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain, as his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

So, does God send this pain like some cosmic tyrant? Certainly not, for evil has invaded our world to poison people’s attitudes, values, and energy, with tragic effects on themselves, their victims, and on us all. Yet God invites us to see how He is working within the effects—however serious they may be.

Jesus stressed this invitation in responding to news of a falling tower that killed eighteen people and when his disciples asked him about whatever sin had caused a man to be born blind. And still today, he invites and enables us to add his healing touch to victims and to offer redemption to culprits.

It is always sad to find people using pain to gain attention or shape their identity. However, I have also been inspired to find them choosing to embrace God’s presence in their pain to find healing or to find a bridge so others with similar challenges may find his availability. Even so, compassion for others can delude us into impatience that pushes us towards areas or actions that only God can handle—which can ironically make things worse for everyone involved.

“My God, why have you forsaken me?” cried Jesus from the cross, quoting a prayer from the Psalms. However, that’s when God was never closer to the deepest levels of our pain, taking its full extent on himself while he was preparing for Jesus’ resurrection.

Pain is with us, unable to be wished away or explained away, and words alone can’t deliver all the answers. Otherwise, faith could only work for intellectual, articulate people. So instead, God invites us to trust him through all our questions, doubts, pain, and imperfections, so we may personally know his presence and spread his reassurance around.