We don’t like pain.  Nobody does. We go to great lengths to avoid it for ourselves, and if we can’t avoid it, we try to ignore it.  And if we can’t ignore it, we try to numb it with alcohol, drugs, food or some other indulgence of the flesh to take our minds off of it.  If that weren’t bad enough, we also try everything to shield our kids from experiencing pain. We haven’t done them any favors—we’ve actually handicapped them from experiencing the fullness of life, robbed them of the best tool they could have to become responsible, productive, fully-functioning adults.  Yes, we need our pain, and our kids do too.

 

Table Talk Notes

“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. ….No doubt pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of the rebel soul.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

Pain is either done to us from external factors, done to ourselves from our choices in life, or a combination of the two—the physiological and mental impact of it is similar no matter the cause.

 

Eg. “disease”

We live in a fallen world that is being ever more corrupted. Many of our diseases are a result of this, from the polluted environment including food, water and air (radon in houses). Our DNA, honed by all the sinfulness of our ancestors, includes a kind of “generational curse”. And our choices (diets, exercise or lack thereof, meds, etc) exacerbate both.

 

An entire generation has been “stunted” by being sheltered from pain by their well-meaning parents.  As a result…

  • They can’t handle problems, disagreement or anxiety—nicknamed “snowflakes” as each is unique and terribly fragile, needing “safe spaces” to shield them from arguments and support animal to soothe nerves: Read on…
  • They can’t handle criticism, in the workplace requiring constant praise and encouragement to do their jobs, merely what is expected of them
  • They can’t make good decisions, always going with what feels right (often the easier path or one promising grandiose results) instead of using reason and analysis to discern what IS right (but may be a tougher choice)
  • They can’t accept responsibility for their bad decisions or failures—it’s always someone else’s fault

 

Golfer Hal Sutton on teaching kids decision-making

“My goal is to help kids realize the importance of ALL the decisions they’re going to make.  Learn to trust yourself. And when it’s painful, FEEL the pain, ‘cause that will help you make the rewarding decision next time.”  (Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” show 4/28/18)

 

Pain makes us who we are

 

A lesson from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Spock’s half-brother Sybok (Laurence Luckinbill) is a feel-good Svengali urging everyone to “release your pain”. Bones has already succumbed to it and urges Kirk to try it (“Jim, try to be open about this.”) His response:

Kirk: About what? That I’ve made the wrong choices in my life? That I turned left when I should’ve turned right? I know what my weaknesses are—I don’t need Sybok to take me on a tour of them… Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!

Spock (after his brother’s efforts to get Spock to release his pain of rejection from his father when he was born, for looking so “human”):  “I am not the outcast boy you left behind those many years ago.  Since that time, I’ve found myself, my place.  I know who I am.”

 

“We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character. Here again we come up against what I have called the “intolerable compliment.” Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

Romans 9:20-23 | But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory

 

Do you know who you are?

The Christian paradox: remembering who you were and why you needed Christ to die, while embracing who you are: a new creation.

Romans 7:18-19, 24-25 | For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing… Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

 

2 Cor 5:17 | Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

“I have been trying to make the reader believe that we actually are, at present, creatures whose character must be, in some respects, a horror to God, as it is, when we really see it, a horror to ourselves. This I believe to be a fact: and I notice that the holier a man is, the more fully he is aware of that fact.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

Wrong ways to handle pain

Cling to it, becoming a perpetual victim

Obsess on it, becoming a rage-filled vengeance-seeker

Try to avoid it, stuffing it deep inside you, or running from it

Get angry at God

 

“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word ‘love’, and look on things as a man were the centre of them. Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. ‘Thou hast created all things, and for they pleasure they are and were created.’ (Rev. 4:11) We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the Divine love may rest ‘well pleased.’ To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God.” ― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

Right way to handle pain

Accept responsibility for your part in it and learn from it

See the person causing you pain as God sees them, remember that “hurting people hurt others”, and forgive them (Nancy’s dad)

Take your pain to God: trust Him that He will use it for His plan, His glory

Includes asking for the grace to get through it

 

“Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man. The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.” — C.S. “Jack” Lewis (Anthony Hopkins in the movie Shadowlands)

 

“On the one hand, if God is wiser than we His judgement must differ from ours on many things, and not least on good and evil. What seems to us good may therefore not be good in His eyes, and what seems to us evil may not be evil.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

“If tribulation is a necessary element in redemption, we must anticipate that it will never cease till God sees the world to be either redeemed or no further redeemable.”
― C.S. LewisThe Problem of Pain

 

2 Cor 12:7-10 | So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

Hebrews 12:7-11 | It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

1 Peter 4:12-13 | Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

Mike on Q-Drives: “Every time God is faithful, I have to realize I can’t do it myself.”

 

Revelation 21:3-4 | And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”