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Friday, November 16, 2007

The Problem of Pain

I finished reading The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis this morning. This is not an "official" book review, but I did just want to post some thoughts on it. I have now read all of Lewis's work, and this one would be in my top five favorites of his.

I love that he takes on such a difficult question like If there is a God, and He is good and almighty, how can there still be pain in the world? Similarly, Why do bad things happen to good people? I love that he doesn't give trite answers, that he works through questions like these logically, step-by-step, and it's hard to imagine arriving at any conclusion other than his. Great thinker and apologetic.

But the thing that stood out most to me personally in this book is the idea that God could be trying to get our attention through pain. I had read the famous quote from him that "God whispers to us in our pleasures...but shouts in our pain." I never really understood that, though, until I read his full argument.

We "have all we want" is a terrible saying when "all" does not include God. We find God an interruption...Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call "our own life" remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him.

Wow.

So, as a creation of God, I am not supposed to find true fulfillment in my marriage, family, career, hobbies (as good as those things might be). But, honestly, isn't that where many of us look for fulfillment? If that's the case, might God have to take away one of those things to turn our attention to Him? Lewis then goes on to discuss God's "divine humility" where He accepts us even when we come to Him because we have nowhere else to turn.

If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is "nothing better" now to be had...It is hardly complimentary to God that we should choose Him as an alternative to Hell: yet even this He accepts.

Heading into this Thanksgiving season, I just wanted to share this wonderful book/author with you. I am thankful for Lewis and all of his work that has blessed and inspired so many. I am also most thankful that God "shouted in my pain" a few years back and forever turned my attention to Him.

I just never could have expressed that as eloquently as C.S. Lewis. :) Now...what are YOUR thoughts on the "problem of pain"?

Meanwhile...I'll be posting from the road tomorrow because we're heading home for Thanksgiving! Please keep us in your prayers!

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