A theology of no more pain

By Dave Henning / April 9, 2016

“When our faith is built upon a theology of no more pain, we fail to hold dark and light together and cannot experience the fullness of God.”- Matt Bays

Matt Bays begins Chapter 5 (“Put Away the Glitter- God Wants You to Tell the Truth”) of Finding God in the Ruins by stating that God’s love isn’t glitter.  It then follows that if God’s love isn’t glitter, at some point we’re going to have to realize “that getting all of him is equally delicious and painful (italics author’s).”

Pastor Bays emphasizes that asking someone who has experienced horrific pain to minimize or summarize the experience is akin to “asking someone who’d been to hell and back to put a bright, red ribbon on a grenade.”  We need a God who sees our suffering and pain, and doesn’t turn away for a second- that we are never out of His sight.

Matt notes that if we are ever to find an honest place with God, we must cry out “Where are You?”  In our spiritual understanding of God, passages such as John 16:33 (“In this world you will have trouble”) must be given credence.  Rather than extracting any sort of darkness from our lives, we have the capacity to hold dark and light together simultaneously.  Richard Rohr describes this capacity in his book Things Hidden:

“God wants usable instruments who will carry the mystery, the weight of glory, and the burden of sin simultaneously, who can bear the darkness and light, who can hold the paradox of the incarnation- flesh and pain, human and divine, joy and suffering, at the same time, just as Jesus did.”

Faith built upon a theology of no more pain fails to hold dark and light together.  Such faith cannot experience the fullness of God.

Today’s question (from Matt): In what ways do you feel you might not be experiencing the fullness of God?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Faith built on preference”

About the author

Dave Henning

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