In this book Yancey is out to find out the root and any likely rationale to pain.
He refers to pain as a gift that everybody rejects. However, he views pain as an alarm system that God has provided to us to help us keep to our senses. He discusses pain in term of physical, emotional and spiritual pain and assists us to comprehend why we suffer and how to deal with our own pain and that of others. He does this by answering five important questions as discussed below;Why is there such a thing as pain?Pain is not a later addition, God initiated it soon after Adam and Eve rebelled against Him.
Yet, God did not make a mistake by introducing pain as it serves an important role in our body and spiritual health. Pain is crucial to a normal life as without pain our live would be laden with danger and devoid of many basic pleasures. Pain is a vital element of our most fulfilling experiences. Pain and pleasure are entangled as they work closely and are almost inseparable. Hence, despite being unpleasant, pain has some good and useful purposes. Pain and sufferings are there to teach us a lesson when God is displeased with our actions. God uses circumstances to warn and punish us in cases of wrongdoings (Yancey, 2003).
Is pain a message from God?Pain and suffering are God’s means of waking up our senses when we have done something wrong. We should not view pain as a punishment but rather as a wake-up call for us to revive our purpose in life. Yancey tells us that when we see problems coming our way we should reexamine our action to see whether they conform to God’s requirements. God uses pain to convey the message that we are doing something the wrong way and to show us thus we need to adjust our course of action.How people respond to suffering?Most of the times, people question God when faced with pain and suffering by asking hard questions that men have always asked for thousands of years. As we encounter pain, we are confronted with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Majority of the people feel desperate and unable or ill-prepared to deal or handle the situation. However, we should find strength in Jesus.
He gives us the grace we need to counter pain and suffering.How can we cope with pain?It is not easy to go through pain even for the greatest human beings. Anyone can break under pressure as Job did. However, we have a perfect example of Jesus Christ who successfully went through pain. Yancey is quick to point out that Jesus Christ is the only head of the church or Congregation that appeared on earth and experienced suffering as we do. We are encouraged by the fact that Jesus understands what we are going through and He knows that we can prevail over pain. Also, when we reflect at how Jesus suffered on the cross, it gives us the courage and power to bear the pain we are suffering.
Jesus also left us the church in order we may help each other during times of pain (Yancey, 1996).How Does Faith help?Having faith in Christ is very important when it comes to suffering and pain. For example incase we are sick, we can be healed if only we trust that God is capable of healing us. Faith can make us move a mountain which means we can conquer any kind of pain if we exercise faith in Jesus Christ. So, incase of pain we only need to gather enough faith and this will give us the power to move on. Faith is as a critical quality we must manifest if we are to face the problems ahead of us. We should allow our faith to grow deeper through prayers and bible readings to enable us to face up pain and distress (Gaines, 2007).
Personal ApplicationCaregiver need to learn to listen, care and love their patients. Most caregiver no longer show any care for their patients. Pain and agony sometimes lead to discouragement and these people need someone to talk to and who can listen to them. Listening is one form of caring to such individuals. Listening to those in pain can lead to curing of emotional pain.
The course of healing is involves a humble and challenging task of generating and presenting a friendly environment where those in pain can reflect on their pain and distress without fear and create in them the confidence that makes them search for new ways to solve their problems. The listener acts as a reflecting mirror to the sufferer. This allows the person to spot his or her feelings which mean that he/she is able to understand her/his problem better and he/she is in a position to starts the process of solving the problem. The patients have many piled up emotions which need to be expressed and listened to by a caring and humble person. Those in pain cannot hear the listener unless the listener first listens to all their pain (Chapman, 2006).We have always asked ourselves, where is God when it hurts? But I think the most appropriate question is where the church is when it hurts? The church must understand its followers and know those who are under pain and to comfort those who are affected. The church should be there for them for example visiting them in hospitals, sharing with them consoling scriptures from the bible and even most importantly listening to them.
We need to praise God not only for the good things He does to us but also during hard times. We only seem to praise God in times of joys and happiness but blame him in cases of problems some of which maybe of our own creation.ReferencesChapman, E. (2006). The Caregiver Meditations. New York: October Hill Press.
Gaines, E., (2007). Stronger than you Think: Becoming Complete Without Having to be Faultless. New York: Intervarsity Press.Yancey, P. (1996). Where is God when it Hurts? Disappointed by God.
New York: Zondervan.Yancey, P. (2003). Gossip of another World: What on Earth are we gone astray. Zondervan.