Divine Refining

In The Problem of Pain, Lewis writes “Christianity is not the conclusion of a philosophical debate on the origins of the universe… It is not a system into which we have to fit the awkward fact of pain: it is itself one of the awkward facts which have to be fitted into any system we make. In a sense it creates rather than solves the problem of pain.”

Do you struggle with identifying the reason for pain? What are some conclusions you’ve arrived at?

Often Christianity is defended either by word or in practice as a faith that provides Jesus as friend and some assurance of blessing when virtuous living is followed. Lewis seems to agree with what Jesus says, however difficult it may be, namely, that if one is to believe and follow, it will be more akin to the suffering of Jesus than some haloed affair. And, though Jesus called his disciples friends, Lewis rightly suggests the hard view of friendship.

“We are… a Divine work of art, something that God is making,” Lewis writes, “and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until a certain character.” He says that God is, in love and through our pain, “trying to train us into something unlike our natural selves.”

God is in the process of refining us. The question is whether we trust Him in this endeavor. Do we want a friend who confronts us about our dishonest behavior even if it jeopardized our happiness, or would we rather have that kind of friend who lets things go?

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