By Martin Morrison
So many of us are indebted to C S Lewis for his profound understanding of the Christian journey. I include below two paraphrased sections of some of the wisdom of C S Lewis from his book, The Problem of Pain. In so doing, I merely wish to whet your appetite to read him for yourself. I would start with Mere Christianity, immediately followed by The Problem of Pain.
Just remember that C S Lewis is not the latest social media or breaking news. You need time. You need to read him slowly. You need to read, mark and inwardly digest. The Life Guarantee is that you can have your money back if there is no satisfaction!
There is a tendency in novelists and poets to represent suffering as wholly bad in its effects, producing every kind of unhappiness and malice in the sufferer. And of course, pain, like pleasure can be so received. However, remember that the effects of suffering are not determined by the giver or the gift, but by the recipient. Indignation at the suffering of others, can be a caring response, but it needs to be carefully managed, lest it steal away patience and humanity from those who suffer and in their place plant anger and cynicism.
I am not convinced that suffering, has any innate tendency to produce malice and evil. Having served on the frontline in World War I, I did not find the trenches or the field hospitals any more filled with hatred, selfishness, rebellion and dishonesty than any other place. On the contrary, I saw great beauty of spirit in some who were great sufferers. I have seen men, for the most part, grow better not worse with suffering. I have seen men with advancing years or the last illness, produce treasures of courage and meekness from most unpromising subjects.
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. God has scattered joy, pleasure and laughter for us all. We can have fun, some ecstasy, but we are never safe. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world. It is not hard to see why.
The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world instead of resting our hearts in God. A few moments of happy love, a landscape, a concert, a meeting with friends, a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.
Read Romans 5: 1 – 5.
For further reading:
C S Lewis: Mere Christianity; The Problem of Pain
Both to be found at Amazon, paperback or kindle.