The Problem and Possibility of Pain
I’ve been reading Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis, and contemplating the subject of pain and the way that God uses rejection, discomfort, misunderstanding, betrayals, and trials, to refine us. At first I thought that sounded, well, rather mean. That God would put me through hard things to change me. But then, as I’ve been reflected on the hardest seasons in my life I can see, only by looking back at them, that those hard seasons are the things that have matured, strengthened and refined me more than anything in my life.I was thinking this evening again on the realization of David: that MAN looks on the outside, but GOD looks at the heart. My heart is held prisoner. Try as I may to disclose its secrets, to bring someone inside, to share the deepest, I cannot share my heart completely. There are places that only He can see inside of me. There are things about me that only He will know. So many people, spend their energy trying to get someone, anyone, to understand them completely, but they never quite make it. Almost, but not quite. As if it’s supposed to be that way. Empty without Him.
There’s a day coming when what’s on the inside will be made known to all. This secret is for some a gift, and for other’s a judgment.
For some, the secret place that only God can see, meet and fulfill will become a secret sanctuary garden cultivated for Him. Growing in meekness and humility, communing with the Uncreated, they will invest in something that makes no sense to the human eye. It is faith. The belief that God IS. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Man may look at the outside and call it foolishness. But on the inside, there’s a garden.
For others, the day of the inside out, will be a curse. Revealing every idle thought and evil intention prevalent on the innermost soul of man. Revealing that in some, there is nothing
worthwhile on the inside. That thorns and briars have sprouted selfishness and the pride of man has run rampant through years of free reign. Then, David’s revelation that “MAN looks on the outside, but GOD looks at the heart” will come full circle. Then any former good opinions based on the outer shell will come to naught. On that day nothing else will matter.
I am praying, “God, Come into Your Garden!” I am asking that I may be found bearing the fruits of righteousness in the midst of hard times. I am keeping in front of me the realization that it isn’t about the details of my circumstances, but about my RESPONSE. I have been broken, I am being broken, I will be broken, and the contents of my heart will spill upon the ground. I want it to look more and more like the fellowship of His sufferings. That I may more readily say a simple, weak “yes” to Him in this garden-pruning process and tomorrow feel a little more of the weight of the glory I am being transformed into.