"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be." C. S. Lewis
I have thought about Romans 8:28 a lot lately. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (NIV) I want to believe that God will work all things out for our good. I do believe that. God will do the best for us, but on the path to "our best" He promises that we will suffer. I also believe that we will not see the full working out of all things until God's redemptive work that He began ages ago is finally complete and all things have been made new. When the lion will lay in peace beside the lamb and the curse will be removed.
Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street [of the city]. On both sides of the river was the tree of life bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations, and there will no longer be any curse. Rev.22:1-2 (NIV)
The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis. My copy is well worn. The cover is creased. The margins are written in, page numers are circled, selections of the text are underlined. I am a fan of Lewis, but this is one of his harder books. I remember pulling out a dictionary more than once during one of the times I read it. It has a lot of helpful insights, particularly in the chapters "Divine Omnipotence" and "Divine Goodness." True to form, there is some less than solid theology, especially in the chapters on the fall of man and animal pain. There is a lot of interesting things to think about in those chapters, but it is not solid theology. I have learned a lot from this book, and Lewis' writings have been instrumental in healing my heart a number of times.
In the chapter on Divine Goodness, Lewis compares our sanctification by God to a good man training a puppy:
"Man interferes with the dog and makes it more lovable than it was in mere nature. . .To the puppy the whole proceeding would seem, if it were a theologian, to cast grave doubts on the "goodness" of man." He goes on to say that older, fully trained dog who has been the recipient of much affection due to it's successful training to have no such doubts regarding the goodness of man. "He does not house-train the earwig or give baths to centipedes. We may wish, indeed, that we were of so little account to God that He left us alone to follow our natural impulses - that He would never give over trying to train us into something so unlike our natural selves: but once again, we are asking not for more Love, but for less."
I just wish His love didn't hurt so much right now.