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. ~C.S. Lewis
Last week I wrote of my adventures in lawn-mowing and this week it is my displeasure to inform you that my summer fun is prematurely cut short. A week and half ago I tore my left biceps muscle from my elbow.
I was volunteering for a local charity (throwing a box spring mattress on a burn-pile behind Grace Bible Church) when I heard and felt the tear. (Yes, I actually heard it and the memory gives me the willies.)
It hurt. It hurt physically but also mentally and emotionally. That’s the nature of pain.
And if Lewis is correct—and he usually is—regarding our pains and our God, then it certainly seems that God is none too shy about speaking to us in His, shall we say, outside voice.
Inevitably a local sage comforted me by explaining, “Well…you’re getting older.” While I do not dispute the factuality of the statement I do indeed deny its implication: I am not so old that my muscles are jumping off my bones.
Having said that, I’ll be undergoing surgery in a couple of days to reattach muscle to bone: more pain. But this will be suffering of a different sort. Contemplating the coming procedure and the discomfort that is certain to follow, it seems that a differentiation between “good” and “bad” pain is in order.
Tearing the muscle was “bad” pain. It was nothing but harmful. Repairing and rehabbing the muscle will be “good” pain. If done correctly it will be nothing but beneficial.
Ideally, the suffering doctors inflict is for their patient’s betterment. It’s “good” pain. Thus, while it may feel otherwise, we believe our doctors are doing things for our good—saving what is spoiled to the best of their ability.
Now, to be sure, we can’t always neatly distinguish or categorize “good” from “bad” pain. Life’s much too complicated for that. But we can always trust the hand and heart of the Great Physician in the midst of the messiness.
We must always strive to view our pains—good and bad—through the lens of Christ’s sufferings and with an eternal perspective.
At any rate, I suspect I’ll be hearing the outside voice a bit longer and I don’t know when I’ll be publishing another article. (I loathe “hunting and pecking.”) But until then…thank you for reading and thinking.