Problem of Pain

The problem of pain is one of the most important apologetic questions that Christians face today. We need to be able to answer it both for those who are asking intellectually (how can a God good allow evil to happen) and those that are asking on a personal level. Why did God allow my friend to die suddenly, why is my mother dying of cancer or why won’t my parent’s believe in Christ? I don’t want to answer those questions right now (if there is an answer), but to put in an important piece I found recently. In The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, one of the main characters, Digory, has a mother who is dying of some illness. It is very likely that she will eventually die. In Narnia he asks Aslan if there is something that will take the dying away.
“But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great front feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at is face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
“My son, my son,” said Aslan. “I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet.”
This isn’t some warm fuzzy passage that Lewis put in to inspire us. He was not that type of person. His mother died of cancer before he was ten and his descriptions of being in the house where his mother was sick in Surprised by Joy find their way into The Magician’s Nephew. A quick study of his life shows a few other extremely painful loses. This passage gives us a peek of how God’s feels about suffering (I believe he does feel emotions) even if it doesn’t explain why. It also shows that often times the best response to the problem of pain may not be a quick explanation or a Bible verse, but to feel the pain along with the sufferer in imitation of our Savior who feels our pain.


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