”Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” – The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis
At first, I admit, I was a bit hesitant to dedicate an entire issue of Conversations Journal to the issue of pain—yours, mine, the world’s. That sounded a bit, well, depressing, and I wasn’t certain that a full 96 pages of wrestling with the question of theodicy would be uplifting the kind of uncertain times in which we live.
But God, and my editors and writers convinced me otherwise. Each of their wonderful, deeply personal discussions of pain carried with them not only wisdom and strength, but another subtle message to us all—You are not alone.
Whether you believe, as Lewis writes above, that pain is God’s megaphone, or, as Mark Buchanan writes in “The Problem of Painlessness” in this issue, that pain is God’s hearing aid, in the midst of heartache and loss one of the most valuable, life-giving things to hear is that you are not alone.
And that’s why we’ve chosen to continue that theme with our blog for the month of November. While many of us (myself included) will be turning toward a practice of gratitude (American Thanksgiving is in November) and preparation (the season of Advent starts on November 27), there are many who are suffering loss and uncertainty during this season as well. We hope that as each of our bloggers tackles the topic of pain and its impact on spiritual formation, you’ll hear not only hope and wisdom, but an assurance that you are seen and identified with in the valley of the shadow of death. That you aren’t alone. That God is with you. And that we are, too.
Grace & peace,
Tara Owens, CSD
Tara M. Owens is the senior editor of Conversations Journal. A certified spiritual director with Anam Cara Ministries (www.anamcara.com), she practices in Colorado and around the world. She is profoundly grateful to do ministry and life with her husband and best friend, Bryan. She is working on an upcoming book from InterVarsity Press on spirituality and the body. If you’d like to continue the conversation with Tara, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follower her on Twitter at t_owens.