In his book The Problem of Pain, 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.” Pain has a way of getting our attention like nothing else. Indeed, it is a megaphone that awakens us to difficult realities of life: the death of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend, the shattering of marriage vows, the collapse of a nation, the trauma of violent crime, the devastation of natural disasters, and thousands of other heartbreaks that fill this groaning planet. We don’t have to look far to find suffering and we can be sure that one day pain will come knocking at our door.
Gratefully, the hope found in God’s word has not left us in the lurch regarding the suffering of this life. We find in Scripture that suffering is promised, and we also find precious assurances that God is with us through it all. The psalmist declared with confidence, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
The whole prospect of following Jesus Christ is a call to die. Life on the altar as we have seen in this series is a picture of dying to self for the sake of God’s Kingdom agenda. In yet another paradox, our dying to self, our presenting ourselves to God as living sacrifices, becomes the pathway by which we truly live as God intended. This life in Christ brings not only promised joy and peace, but continues on forever and ever. This eternal perspective becomes the ballast that keeps us steadied in times of pain.(more…)