"Or, God might get their attention through pain, by throwing them on a bed of suffering…" Job 33:19 (MSG)
Last year, Wendy and I went to see a play called Shadowlands at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis. The play chronicles the unique story of C.S. Lewis' relationship with his wife Joy Davidman Gresham. Joy was an intelligent poet, a communist, and a divorced woman. Lewis' friends found her abrasive, but he struck up an agreeable friendship with her. Lewis eventually agreed to enter into a civil marriage contract with Joy so that she could remain in Britain. It was about that time that she discovered she had bone cancer.
In the midst of Joy's suffering, Lewis' own heart began to break. Through his own intense pain, Lewis discovered how much he genuinely loved Joy, and he asked her to marry him "for real." The two were married (despite the scandal of her being a divorced woman). Surprisingly, (or perhaps not so surprisingly) her cancer went into a brief remission and they enjoyed four years together before her death in 1960.
It was out of the terrible experience of standing by and watching Joy's suffering that Lewis penned:
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Sometimes, our suffering is God's way of getting our attention.