Some of my friends are hurting right now.
And on the flip side, I have some friends who have almost no struggles. Well, a few friends. But I’m happy for those who don’t have to carry great burdens. In some cases, it’s because they’ve negotiated life well. In other cases, it’s because life just works that way sometimes.
But most of us are deeply burdened. Some are bone-weary, some carry loads they don’t have to carry, some carry loads they do have to carry, some feel trapped by their own psyches, some have made mistakes. (Okay, all have made mistakes.) But you get the point. Hidden pain is pandemic.
Where is God in our pain? I’m no theologian, but this comes to mind. If we substitute the word “love” for “God” (since God is love), love won’t weaponize our pain against us. It will stay by our side as we walk through the dark place. Often, it uses us as its messengers. You are not alone. I am not alone.
And what’s the purpose of pain?
Okay, stay with me for a minute. (Did I mention I’m no theologian?) But again, this comes to mind. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis wrote that moments in our lives (such as viewing a breathtaking landscape or experiencing utter joy in a hobby) can capture a glimpse of “the secret signature of each soul. While we are, this is. If we lose this, we lose all.”
And in the same book, he also wrote, “Pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains.”
I wonder if there’s a connection.
In order to discover the secret signature of our souls, pain will most likely be involved. Maybe our lives are so exquisitely important that God uses it all…our blessings, our thought mechanisms, and even our pain…to communicate with us.
In Mark 4, Jesus told his followers why he often spoke in parables. “To those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward a welcome awakening.” (The Message)
Maybe our hidden, painful stories are nudging us toward a welcome awakening.