-So Why Do We Have Pain?

So why do we have pain? C.S. Lewis, in his classic book, The Problem of Pain, states the issue as follows: "If God were good, he would wish to make his creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty, he would be able to do what he wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either the goodness, or power, or both." [v] Lewis replies to this by saying that we need to look more closely at erroneous assumptions built into the words "all-powerful" and "good".

The "all-powerfulness" of God is taken to mean that God can do anything. But this view is misguided. Having made the universe to work in certain, consistent ways, God does not arbitrarily change these laws whenever potential harm rears its head. If God kept changing the way things normally operate in the universe, it would be impossible for us to rise to genuine challenges or act responsibly within it. Lewis also examines how people tend to misunderstand "divine goodness". We tend to view goodness as merely making us happy all the time. We need to see that for God, loving kindness is giving us what is ultimately best for us. If suffering brings us closer to Him, then it is good. Perhaps one of Lewis' most famous quotes is: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world." [vi]

In the Christian worldview, pain is a result of the Fall of Man. Sorrow, pain, and death, are part of the curse found in Genesis 3:16-19. God said to Eve, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children..." He said to Adam, "cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life..." Pain was never a part of God's original creation and the day will come when it will be eradicated from the New Earth that He will create. Revelation 21:4 states. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, or crying, neither shall there be any more pain."

 

-Curtis Owen

Counseling Pastor

-Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him!-

In James 4:3 it says: "You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." In essence, what is being conveyed is that not all prayers are pleasing to God; rather than seeking to honor God and His Kingdom purposes. Such prayers seek only to gratify self-centered passions, just a desire to pursue personal happiness. Some silly and downright selfish things are often done in the name of pursuing happiness. Many a marriage counselor and pastor will attest to hearing something along these lines, "I'm not happy in this marriage: God wants me to be happy; therefore, I want out of this marriage".

This self-centered perspective is mistaking hedonism for happiness. They think that their circumstances are supposed to make them happy. They are pursuing pleasure at the cost of meaning. Don't fall for this lie. Hedonism does not equal happiness. Hedonism, the goal of which is to maximize net pleasure, lacks meaning altogether. Meaning is a vitally important ingredient of true happiness. It is a fact, not just a biblical sentiment that: You will find more happiness in giving yourself away than in any self-centered pleasure. Now, the pursuit of holiness can't help but bring an ongoing happiness and joy. Why? Because holiness, being devoted to God's ways of being, incorporates meaning and love. True happiness is never fulfilled without it. When we sow holiness, we reap happiness and long standing joy.

-Curtis Owen

Counseling Pastor

-Caregivers Need To Relax-

People who take on a caregiving role for extended, lengthy periods of time often suffer from stress type issues that have been termed "Caregiver Syndrome".  It's real and it affects about 75% of caregivers.  It usually strikes woman harder than men.  Signs to look for are: exhaustion, loneliness, frustration and anger.

 

    Often times the caregiver compounds or makes these problems worse because they feel like they shouldn't have these emotions.  The truth of the matter is that it is very normal to feel this way.  Where it becomes problematic is when the caregiver attempts to deny they are feeling negative and then they go right back to caregiving the same way they have always done.  Then bad feelings come back and then they deny and then the cycle starts all over again, causing the caregiver to cycle deeper and deeper into the negative emotions mentioned earlier.      

 

    Instead, the caregiver needs to acknowledge that they have these emotions and not "beat themselves up" for it, but be willing to do something different.  For example, I encourage all caregivers to find a safe place to "vent" their emotions.  That can be formally done in a counseling setting or with a friend or in a group.  But basically, this needs to be done somewhere they can just spill the bad and the ugly, unfiltered, and not be judged for it. 

 

      Another thing that I highly recommend is what I call "mandatory respite days".  That's basically, one-two days a week and/or a weekend a month where the caregiver turns over those caregiving duties to someone else.  The caregiver goes away and does something just for them.  The problem is the caregiver will many times fight you like crazy that they don't want to do that.  They have to be convinced that they are not abandoning the person they are caring for.  That's why they resist.  I tell family to be flat out insistent and make them go.  Usually after about 3-4 times of doing it and being able to "recharge their battery" caregivers feel refreshed and clear-minded and no longer will resist taking a respite from their caregiving duties; they welcome it. 

 

     Another way to manage this issue is to find a care giver support group to attend. Search for places in your community that offer these services. People can check with their local family physician, nursing homes and hospice care organizations.  These organizations usually have that information readily available.  I have found the hospice organizations specifically have a wealth of information along a variety of similar topics and a person doesn't have to be in hospice to obtain some of their information and activities.

 

Ultimately, we want to be there for our loved ones as they grow older but more importantly we need to be able to be there for them more effectively.  Which is why as the classic saying goes, “you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself” rings true. 

 

 God Bless,

    Curtis Owen

              Counseling Pastor