C Michael Patton suffers pain caused by a chronic degenerative back condition and observes a contrast in the pain which he experiences now and the pain he used to experience in his body after a good workout.
One pain was good, the other seems like a sign of defeat. And that sense of defeat, of pain that has no meaning can be the beginning point of a path that leads away from God.
Let me say this again: It is not just suffering and pain that is at issue. It is that which seems to be meaningless suffering and pain. It is the type which may cause us to think that life makes more sense if God is not in control. It is the difference between being sore from a workout and having a sciatic nerve that lays its eggs in your life.
I was telling Carrie (my assistant) the other day that there are two types of Christians out there: those that find immediate hope and reasoning behind every pain and are perpetually joyful, and those who simply ”punt to the eschaton” (the end) to find their joy and meaning. More often than I would like, I punt to the eschaton. I am not saying that is the right thing to do, but it does have some biblical warrant.
However, the thing that must unite us as Christians is that there is no such thing as “meaningless.” That word does not need to be in our vocabulary. We should not have a dictionary which gives it any life. It is a word reserved for the atheist, the deist, and the pantheist, but not the Christian. I am not saying we don’t look it in the face from time to time (God knows I do), I am just saying that we cannot allow ourselves to camp there. That campground is off-limits for Christians. There are so many things out there that have webbed feet on dry land. There are so many sciatic nerves which cause us to cry “why?” There are so many mothers who are unable to walk or talk. There are so many children who die untimely deaths. There are so many times when our pain seem meaningless. But our faith is not dependent on finding immediate understanding and fulfillment for our pain. Sometimes we do punt to the eschaton knowing that there is meaning behind it, even if we don’t know what that meaning is today.
Read the whole post here.