“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
It is platitudes like these that leave most of us wanting. It sounds good. It even, as a Christian, made pain and suffering sound noble. God is trying to get your attention. You! He’s speaking to you, saying something important. But what is it?
Then you search your soul. Have I committed some sin? Nothing I can think of. Must be something obscure. He’s teaching me something. Must be. Yes, that’s it. I’m learning something. I can’t do this…life…on my own. Even then, when you think you’ve discovered it and you’ve made all the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle, you’re still in pain.
So you wrack your brain even more. I’m spending too much time or energy on something unimportant. I’ve been worshiping an idol. I’ve been putting work, money, family, my spouse, my girlfriend/boyfriend or something ahead of God. Life is short. Make it count!
It doesn’t matter the source of the pain. Oh, sure, you want to get at that source to make it stop. But what if you can’t. What if it’s the death of a loved one? Perhaps a child? What if it’s facing starvation? Or incurable disease? Or the barrel of a gun? What if it’s a tornado? Or an earthquake? Or a tsunami? What if it’s depression? What if it’s something so totally beyond your control that you have no hope of ever stopping it or repairing it’s damage?
Well, that’s where those silly little platitudes come in. As long as you can cling to the hope that something good must come of this horrid situation you’ll be fine. God is using his bullhorn to get your attention and teach you some valuable life lesson.
He wanted your attention. Now he’s got it. Now, what were you saying, God? What was it that was so important that you needed to smite us to get our attention? What? No. I didn’t hear it. I’m all ears. Did you guys hear that? Still can’t hear you. Why do you insist on shouting so quietly? If it’s that important, spit it out! Let us hear what you want to say. No? I thought so. There’s no one there.
This post was inspired by Collateral Damage at Finding Truth. This is not intended to blame any god for causing our pain and suffering. It is meant to point out the contradiction in the belief that there is a god who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent who wants to be known. We can do all sorts of dances around the reasons for his silence. Some of us just happen to believe the reason for that is that he most likely doesn’t exist. If he does exist, we’re all ears. We’re still waiting. Meanwhile we’re getting on with our lives.