“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil; every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt.”
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
But let’s forget the Problem of Pain, because I have been impressed upon to consider the Privilege of Pain. God began to bring this to my attention as I began studying Chazown. Then, He deepened my curiosity toward this subject when He chose Beth Moore’s study on James for my focus this summer.
“Count it all JOY my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness, and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be PERFECT, COMPLETE, LACKING IN NOTHING.” James 1:2-4
This morning, I was listening, as I often do, to In the Market With Janet Parshall and stumbled upon yet another conversation with Shannon Royce, the founder of ChosenFamilies.org. Shannon is herself the mother of a child with autism. She founded Chosen Families to support and encourage those with family members who have some kind of disability that isn’t immediately obvious to the watching world, such as autism and certain autoimmune deficiencies.
I almost switched to a different program, believing that I’d heard most of what Shannon had to share before. But then she said something that fits so perfectly with our Wednesday conversations this month, that I had to share with you:
“I believe that pain is a vote of God’s confidence.”
What of that? What if one of the privileges of pain is that our Father trusts us to make a startling, Christ-worthy impact on the watching world? What if God knows that as He perfects and completes you, just the right people will take notice and when it’s their turn to deal with pain, they will suddenly recognize that Jesus is the resource and sustenance that makes life possible and eternity real.