I have been in pain this week. Physical pain that has awakened me from sleep, one night I woke up crying and I couldn’t figure out why then it washed over me my left hip was bursting. I fall deep into the endless routine of trying to stay awake at work, running around rather than riding because it hurts to sit down. I try to muddle myself through the day to day life stuff like showering, laundry and cooking with no reserve. The season is changing and my ever sensitive barometers are screaming. I am waiting to fall down and just sort of collapse in a swollen daze.
I have several friends right now who are hurting too, not physically but emotionally, relationally. Their pain is as a real as mine and they walk around exhausted and spent wondering if they too will fall eventually because they just can’t seem to see an end. As much as I love taking care of sick children, it is my calling I am not immune to the pain they face. There is nothing more challenging to anyone who loves beauty and joy than a dying child or an abused child. I am surrounded by these children and I love it but I have to ask myself the questions they raise.
Pain is everywhere.
Where is God in the pain? The honest to goodness truth is I rarely have the luxury of pondering this, there is just not enough left at the end of day for theology when I am in pain. I have had a lot of people over the years try to explain away the pain with theology tell me its my cross to bear, tell me it will be better in heaven or tell me Christ understands my pain. Liberation theology talks of the suffering of Christ, the crucified Christ who knew true physical and spiritual pain, some disabled theologians have gone far enough to say the disabled, suffering Christ saved the world. I don’t think any of these adequately explain pain or suffering.
I think its something I wrestle with on dark nights at 3AM when I am holding a dying baby. I have no real answers but two things seem to be true. Pain calls us either to isolation or community. Pain calls either to action or cold indifference. Pain calls us either to lock ourselves in a dark room by ourselves to yell at God and the universe and blame ourselves. Or it calls us to rely on our brethren for subsistence, while we hurt or why we are weak, they are strong for us, they care for us. Pain either breaks our heart for others’ pain and leads us to caring and loving others who suffer in community and in love. Or it hardens our hearts so we either cannot see past our own pain or are so numb and overwhelmed to the pain all around us we are frozen in indifference and sorrow. Christ knew grief, he knew sorrow, he knew persecution, he knew isolation. Yet he filled his life with caring for the sufferings of others and loving them. To me choosing community, choosing sharing our pain and likewise caring for the pain of others is what Christ taught.
The question that I find more important is not why is there pain in the world, it is why are we not moved by it?