One of the problems of pain is this: it is painful.
This may be evident, but it is an important truth nonetheless. Pain seems to demand our focus. In spite of other distractions, busyness, or even happy events – pain can persist.
Another characteristic problem of pain is that it distorts our view of reality. As we relive the painful events over and over in our mind, small irritations become much bigger. And the characters and motives of people associated with that pain or injustice also become distorted.
This distortion of character can include Gods own.
If our pain goes unchecked, or if there is injustice – we think: “If He is all powerful and all loving – then why is He not making my pain go away”. When we try to judge God in view of our pain, we often ascribe to Him character and motives that do not and indeed, cannot exist in a perfect God.
Our conclusions about His character are often the same ones we apply to other people. And here we are in great danger of making God like us. We come to (wrong) conclusions that He thinks and therefore acts like us.
God is punishing me.
God is trying to trick or deceive me.
God doesn’t love me as much as He loves (___________).
Loves truth. | Speaks truth. | Is truth.
The first time God speaks about is character is in Exodus 34. He describes Himself as compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love.
He is more unchangeable than the mountains and stars in the photo above. We trust the stars and mountains to set our calendars, and geographical markings by them, yet we vacillate in our view of an unchanging and perfect God who created them.
What He says about His character is true and it is with this firm foundation we must start. We need stop using our pain as a filter through which we view God. Rather, we must view our pain (and all of life) through the lens of His perfect character. In my experience, God seldom answers the “why” questions that I have.
But He does answer me when I ask for greater revelation of His character!
And in the end, that is what I really need to see rather than my pain.