Listening to the megaphone

Published 4:00 pm Tuesday, March 28, 2023

“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” — C.S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain.”

Everyone goes through pain. It may be minor, like a mild toothache. It may be temporary, like a stubbed toe. It may be sudden and unexpected, like a hard fall, or slow and anticipated in coming, like the end of a dying relationship.

It may be bearable or unbearable, skin-deep or bone-deep.

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Our pain is universal — in that no one is immune — and yet deeply personal and unique. The accidental death of my best friend is not the same as the accidental death of your child. Even if it were the same person, the pain is vastly different.

The English author, academic and theologian C. S. Lewis — author of the popular Chronicles of Narnia book series — believed that pain was absolutely against God’s will, that the Creator did not wish any part of his creation to suffer. But through the decay of creation brought about my mankind’s original sin and continued sins, pain is unavoidable in this world.

He also did not believe that God ever used pain to punish anyone. Rather, he uses the pain that already exists in such a way as to get our attention and speak clearly to us.

Not that he wasn’t speaking clearly already, but that our ears were not attuned to hearing his voice. Because when things are going well in our lives, God’s voice to our consciences may seem distant or muted — “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience.”

When pain grips us, however, his voice — probably spoken at the same volume — seems as if it has been exponentially amplified. It seems as if he “shouts in our pain” with “His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

I’m sure your heart broke along with mine as news came of the storm devastation in Rolling Fork, Amory, and other areas in Mississippi this past weekend. Maybe, like me, you have a personal connection to people in those locations. It seems the more direct the connection, the more a tragedy impacts us. It’s logical.

Several people in my home area of Newton County lost property in the storms, as well.

I hope if you had no personal connection, however, you did not dismiss the suffering of others for lack of it.

When I lived near Alexandria, Louisiana, I saw a news anchor make what I thought was a heartless comment. The meteorologist had just said an incoming hurricane appeared to be veering east and would likely miss Louisiana but hit the eastern coastline hard, causing massive damage. The anchor said, “Good. Better them than us!”

Pain and loss is no less because it happens to someone else. Pain is our red flag that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. But let it be noted that some people can cover their eyes to the waving flags and stop their ears to even a divine megaphone if they so choose.

Maybe you can give to help these storm victims. You can definitely pray. It’s not a last option, it’s the best.

Visit for a list of options for helping those in need.

Brett Campbell can be reached at