Below is a retreat conference I’ve written for a High school retreat. While I realize that there is a difference between reading it and having it given to you, I figured some of you might actually like to hear it in one form or another. Enjoy the read.
“Why has God allowed us to feel this pain?”
As the title of this conference suggests, we’re going to be focusing on why we are allowed to feel this pain. Now remember, as we discussed earlier that there are two types of pain; Type A and Type B. Which one did we say we were going to focus on? (Type B) Correct, because Type A pain deals with the physical sensation of pain, while Type B deals with an experience, wether physical or mental.
Type A pain can always be Type B pain, but not vice versa. We can say then that Type B pain is more like: “Suffering” “Anguish” “Trial and tribulation.” But why?, why are we allowed to feel this way? Of course it’s not our fault that we might feel this way, we have to blame somebody. That’s just the nature of man, to blame someone one else for our problems. So let’s go right to the top and blame the big guy, God.
It is God’s fault we are feeling this way. He is all knowing and all powerful, so he must want us to feel this way right!? Wrong! God is all powerful and he wants the best for us, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going make our life all rainbows and butterflies. Let’s simplify it by saying we need have a little flesh in the game, some stock in the market, sweat in the gym. Essentially we need to be invested in our own salvation.
We humans are middle creatures. What I mean when I say this is that we are not animals or plants (those are lower creatures) and we are not Angels (they are higher creatures). But still we are creatures, and the good of a creature is to surrender itself to it’s creator or Master. Our creator though, has given us free choice so we have the freedom to choose to surrender to his will.
Now I know many of you are thinking that I sound stupid to say that we have free will and we should just choose to follow God’s will. I mean what authority do I have to say that? I have no proofs. The only thing I can do is explain this to you and because everyone loves puppies, I decided to bring a few to help me.
Now, who here owns a dog? As dog owners you know that part of owning the dog is training. Beyond the feeding, the walks, the baths, the haircuts, there is the training. You have to teach them commands, where to sleep, not to climb on the furniture, and above all not to go to the bathroom in the house. So let’s say that your puppy does happen to use the carpet as his own personal grass patch, what do you do?
You scold them of course, and maybe even smack them on the nose. You wouldn’t kill them over using the carpet. After a harsh scolding and some guilty looks from the puppy, you eventually cleanup the mess and get things squared away. However you are still a little peeved at the puppy for using the carpet, but that doesn’t mean you love the puppy any less. Even after you’ve scolded and swatted the puppy, it still turns around and loves you.
The puppy craves your attention, your touch, your Love. This is how we should be with God. Even when we do something he doesn’t want us to do, he yells at us, flashes flames of fire, and then in the end loves us. We need be a puppy to the Lord. How great it is that simpler creatures such as a puppy can teach us so much about God. Now I’ve never had a cat do that to me, so I can’t speak for them so you future crazy cat ladies will have to let me know if it’s the same.
At the root of the relationship between the puppy and yourself is Love. You love your dog and you want the best for them, they in turn want your love and attention and they do love you back. If you loved someone or something you wouldn’t punish it unacceptably would you? No, that’s not what love is. So if God loves us, why do we still feel pain?
Let’s think about it this way; Say your on a date with your spouse, you’ve gone to an upscale Italian place for dinner. The wine has been poured, the salad has come and gone, and the meal is just now coming to the table. You look across the table, which is candle lit, and see your spouse. They look stunning, I mean drop dead beautiful. You reach across the table, grab their hand, give it that little squeeze, lean in and say with all seriousness….”I tolerate you.”
Shortly after that your significant other would probably knock you out of your chair and then walk out. Of course you wouldn’t say that! You would say “I love you”! Love is not toleration, it is wanting the best for them. We all know that sometimes we have to do things we don’t like, hear things we don’t want too, and even be around people we’re not too fond of but it’s all done the name of Love.
Does it hurt? Yes, love is painful. When someone breaks off a relationship, a relative dies, your dog passes away, a friend moves, or any number of reasons it hurts us. Not physically, but pains us inside. Our hearts are torn out of love. What we experience when this happens is only a inkling, a minute amount, not even measurable compared to the way God feels when we either A) disobey him B) renounce him or C) don’t love him back.
The Book of Job, is centered around God’s love for one man. Does anyone know what happened to Job? T begin Job was a very wealthy man, he had thousands of sheep, goats, camels, oxen. A large family and threw banquets all the time. This was all good in the eyes of the Lord because Job blessed and praised God. However God was persuaded to test Job and put him to two tests. The first took away all his possessions and family, his second test was an elimination of his health.
Throughout all 42 chapters of this book, Job never curses God. Instead we find him saying things like “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)” Job knew that God loved him, he also knew love sometimes hurt, and I’m sure he wished God wouldn’t love him so much. In the end God repaid Job with twice of his original amount, making Job again the wealthiest man in the land.
Just as Job had to go through trial of fire, we too must be put to the grindstone. While we think we are perfect, we still need a little TLC and the only one who can provide that is the Lord. We come to God as unformed clay, out of his love for us he kneads us and shapes us into the human person he wants us to be.
Some of you Football players have this mantra “No pain, no gain” Right? Well the same is true with the Lord; no pain, no gain. He does not subject us to a vengeful pain, but a redemptive pain. A pain of Love, and just like Job, we wish he didn’t love us so much sometimes.