Should a Christian Have Pain?

figure depressed and confusedI finished reading “The Problem of Pain” by C.S. Lewis last week. What inspiration! He expounds on animal versus human pain, on heaven and hell, and on the fact that our fallen world is a place of pain. We live surrounded by it. We experience it.

Unfortunately, we’ve also often been misled by ministers who declare that if we have pain, our faith is lacking.

Paul, in Philippians 3, tells us to count it all joy when we encounter various trials. Then in Philippians 4:7 (NASB), he declares “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Does this mean that we have to crank up happiness about having struggles? No, not really.

Joy is deeper than happiness. Joy is like an artesian well, but happiness is like a lawn sprinkler. Joy is quieter, longer-lasting, indwelling. It doesn’t evaporate.

How do we find joy? Well, I’m not actually sure we “find” it. Since it’s a fruit of the Spirit, I think it develops over time. It comes as a result of knowing our Lord more deeply, living in His light, following His direction—you understand. It comes out of relationship.

bountiful basket of fruitAnd what about this thing called peace? It’s also a fruit of the Spirit, developing out of relationship with God.

One thing that’s been brought clearly to my heart recently is that peace is not the absence of pain, but the absence of turmoil in the presence of pain.

Others may not understand your lack of turmoil in the midst of pain and struggle. But you do.

You have the necessary relationship. Keep working to develop it.

A blog series on pain is in the works, so consider this a preview. I don’t know when God will let me do the whole thing. It might be sufficiently tough material that it will have to be dished out a bit at a time.

all illustrations courtesy of