Somehow C.S. Lewis wrote an entire book about how the existence of pain proves that God is real and that God is good. (I’m paraphrasing.) He says that considering something painful proves that pain is not the norm. If all of life was just a constant state of suffering then we would not call pain “pain.” We would not give it its own name because it would be the only thing we ever knew. He goes on to say since life is marked by pain (loss, death, sickness) it seems contradictory that even the most ancient civilizations bend their knee to the idea that there is a Creator and that the creator is innately good.
Since pain exists, we also know that the opposite of pain exists. Our reactions to pain, the words and expressions we use to describe pain, they tell us that pain is not natural. It is not meant to be the norm for humans, not according to God’s design. Yet, it’s an undeniable and unavoidable part of life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
As ironic as it is, some of the most relieving words I’ve read lately are “In this world you will have many troubles,” John 16:33.⠀
Of course the later part about “take heart I’ve overcome the world” is comforting too, but the part about suffering reassures me that I am normal. It reassures me that this awful pain isn’t my fault, it’s just part of life. Somehow Jesus foretelling me that I will have pain makes grieving a heck of a lot less heavy and scary because He knew it would happen. My troubles (now, past, future) don’t come out of nowhere to God. He isn’t frantically trying to fix my problem of pain. Pain will always be on this side of Heaven, but it doesn’t have to rule my life. He knows my suffering and lives in it with me, but He also lives in the moment when I will no longer have any memory of it.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
What a wonderful mystery that while He holds my hand through pain, He also leads my heart to joy (a joy that sometimes gets me laugh crying in my driveway after one of those waves of “I really miss my dad”). Pain is real. Pain is a problem. He is the answer. There’s no greater friend to have by your side when the pain is just too much to bear.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Reach your hand out. I promise He will grasp it.