Some Pleasant Inns
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.
—from The Problem of Pain
1940 The Problem of Pain is published by Centenary Press, London.
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not, doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works (24:11-12).
A hunter set traps to catch animals so he could sell their pelts. When his son was old enough, he took him out to teach him how to trap. It was not long until he began having trouble catching any animals. One day, after setting the traps, he saw his son go out into the woods, so he followed him. The boy went from trap to trap, springing those which were empty, and freeing the animals from those which had done their job. The father stepped into the view of his son and asked him why he was doing such a thing. The boy responded that he couldn't stand to think of the creatures being killed, so he was setting them free. The father ceased taking his son with him, but he never forgot the sympathy and compassion that his son displayed.
Sinners are caught in traps of their own design, but they are deadly nonetheless. As Christians we have an obligation to do everything we can to free them from their traps, and save them from certain destruction. If we will endeavor to bring the truth of Christ to those who desperately need it, God will find favor with us and He will bless us all the days of this life, and the next.
prayer: Lord, make me an instrument of your grace and love. Make me to spread your truth to everyone who is in need, before it is too late. Bless my efforts to bring your light into this dark age. Amen.