A hattip and many, many thanks to Mark Pickup for finding this great clip from Shadowlands, in which Anthony Hopkins plays C.S. Lewis answering that age-old question: does God allow suffering? and, more importantly, WHY???:
I hope you caught this part: “It is precisely because God loves us that he gives us the gift of suffering.”
“No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel mind.”
Indeed, pain and suffering is hard to bear but, hidden within them are eternal truths that cannot be learned otherwise, especially when we allow ourselves to be overcome by pride which makes us forget that we are creatures and totally dependent on God. Pain and suffering can, if we let it, teach us patience, humility and self denial so that the power of Christ may more easily dwell in us (2 Corinth 12:9-10).
We are like gold that is tested in fire – the fire of God’s love. A fire which, though it burns, is not meant to destroy us but to soften our ugly, sinful, hardened hearts so that the Divine Goldsmith can more easily shape them into something beautiful.
“In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7