We're currently in a series called Inside Out, where we're looking at what it means to embrace our emotions in order to enlarge our souls. On Sunday we tackled embracing grief and loss, looking not only at how we can cope when we experience grief and loss, but also at how there are some lessons in life which we can only learn through suffering.
As part of preparing for the sermon one of the most helpful books I found was "The Problem of Pain" by C.S Lewis. Many of us will know C.S. Lewis from his Narnia books (often described as children's books but I recommend them for all adults too!), but may not realise that he was also the most influential Christian thinker of his generation. In The Problem of Pain Lewis tackles what seems like a very powerful challenge to our understanding of God, namely that:
"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 goodness, or power, or both."
Lewis takes that statement apart phrase by phrase, and shows that us experiencing pain does not contradict God being both totally good and completely powerful. It's a brilliant book - not the easiest read in the world in that you'll need to concentrate hard in order to follow his lines of reasoning, but worth the effort as you'll end up with a whole new understanding of God's love for you and the lengths he's willing to go to in order to make you truly happy. I thoroughly recommend it.
Happy reading :)