What I believe about Pain.
I am a proud Christian, and I am in pain.
I find myself sitting in the midst of winter, and reminded of what this season has always meant from a literary standpoint. Often times, winter is used in literature as a reminder of death. This is the point of the year when all things die off and are replaced by the cold, and all sense of life is gone from the world. This is a time where funerals seem to be in place, and the color green, the color of life, is stricken from our environment.
This season, since I have been eighteen years of age, has been a time of pain and regret for me. Each winter, food doesn’t taste the same, all things that give me joy do nothing for me, and I live in a perpetual state of misery. Every winter, it seems like something is added to the list of things that remind me of what I’ve lost in my life. This winter is no different, because I find myself alone in life.
These are often moments where Christians lose their faith. They turn to the things that make them lose their religion, and ultimately lose sense of themselves. Most pastors and preachers would call this a time of “trial,” and suggest that these moments are when God expects us to grow. The one thing that they never say (speaking as someone who as been in that position, albeit not the same prominence) is how hollow their words are going to ring.
Over the course of time, I haven’t really found myself too different from people who go through the same spiritual struggles. Often times the questions of whether or not God is really with me is prevalent. There have been many moments where I have wanted to walk away from everything, and cast away my faith. It’s difficult, but I haven’t made that decision. Ultimately, I’ve found that my belief in Christ is one of my defining features. It’s that love and faith that I have that has helped shape me into a man.
Still, I’m a worn down individual. Every time I look at the lines on my face, I don’t really see age. I see experiences. I’m reminded of every time I’ve failed, every time I’ve bled, every time I’ve hurt, and the few times I’ve succeeded. All that I’ve sacrificed is seen in the scars on my knuckles and arms, and there are many bad memories that will always bring a foul taste to my mouth. In a crowd of people my own age, I’m the only one who admits that regret is necessary, and I allow myself to feel guilt for the sake of my soul.
This is where I think people misunderstand two facets of Christianity. First, God is not going to make one’s life sunshine and puppies. In fact, every time I think of the Bible, one of the constants is the hardship people of God went through. There were the wars that Joshua experienced, the rough life of John the Baptist, and many of Christ’s disciples were killed as time went on. Pain is part of life, and God gives us the tools to cope with that pain, and forge something out of it that glorifies Him, but also makes us better people.
Second, God is not going to interfere when pain will happen. As C.S. Lewis stated, “The problem of pain is human avarice.” There’s no real mystery as to why we experience tragic events. We, as humans, are doing this to one another. Beyond that, we refuse to look around and see what we are doing. No one takes responsibility, but rather point fingers at either inanimate objects, a God they don’t serve, or someone completely unrelated to the goings-on. It is the tragedy of our existence. We’re oblivious to our own foolishness, and always will be.
I am in pain, but I am not without clarity because of it. I understand what causes pain, and ultimately people try to hurt others because they want those people to feel what they feel. It’s like they lash out, trying to take revenge on the world around them. I don’t want people to feel what I’m feeling, because what I feel has made my life less than what it could be. I’d rather be kind to people, and try to be something that no one else will be. I believe that someone needs to step up and be truthful, loving, caring, and ultimately someone with a strong feeling of right and wrong.
I am a proud Christian, and I am in pain. But I believe in God the father, almighty maker of heaven and maker of earth. And in Jesus Christ his only begotten son, our Lord. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate, he was crucified and dead and buried. Then, I believe he rose, and sits at the right hand of God. I will die believing these things, and whether I die as a father, or die alone, I will die serving God.
To those I offend by saying these words, I pray for the day that the truth I have learned in my life no longer becomes offense. Rather, I hope that you see what I’ve seen, and that God will bless you.
…and I believe he will.