Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Problem of Pain

Been reading a lil CS Lewis and thought I'd share a very small handful of tidbits from his book The Problem of Pain. One point he makes in a chapter about Divine Goodness argues that what we simply see as suffering could very well point to more love and not less from God. He uses four comparisons with our day to day experiences to make his point. The artist and his masterpiece are one of his analogies. If the artist were simply doing a sketch, he wouldn't go to such lengths to make certain that it was exactly as he wanted, but if he intends the work to be his masterpiece, he chips away it mercilessly until it becomes what he intends. Therefore, the more he cares for the work, the more he pours himself into it which is perceived by the piece of marble as simply pain and suffering.

He makes similar points in a man's relationship to his animal, a father to his son, and a man and woman. In each case, we can see how though perceived as causing pain, the symbol of God in these analogies is actually showing more love not less.

A few quotes that I pulled out of the book are the following:

"What we would here and now call our 'happiness' is not the end God chiefly has in view: but when we are such as He can love without impediment, we shall in fact be happy."

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell."

"Indignation at others' sufferings, though a generous passion, needs to be well managed lest it steal away patience and humanity from those who suffer and plant anger and cynicism in their stead."

"But if suffering is good, ought it not to be pursued rather than avoided? I answer that suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the suffferer, his submission to the will of God, and, for the spectators, the compassion aroused and the acts of mercy to which it leads."

"A particular medicine is not to be mistaken for the elixir of life."

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Wounds of a Friend

I took all the things you said, and I brought them into a room called consideration. We sat in that room for hours. The things you said made me cry and made me angry. We argued. We fought. We spent time in silence seething at one another.... but when the seething ended, and the silence lingered, I began to see that the things you said were right. I cried again and embraced the things you said.

The things you said hurt me, but faithful are the wounds of a friend.

Funny card for me from my baby