(x = space)



God = Not a Sadist

(read God equals not a sadist)


Pain is good

It teaches us

It tempers us

We come out wholer people

Better for it

Pain is the megaphone

Says Lewis

Pain is loud

Ginsberg might say

(might say)

Pain howls


But it doesn’t howl

Because it’s good:

Pain is bad

It hurts

Great pain hurts


After great pain

The formal feeling comes

Does God allow pain?

Does God wish it?

I don’t know

Christ in the garden

Asked not to feel hurt

And he was




Until he died

We say he had to die

Well and good

For theology

And there was real joy

In his returning

Perhaps he felt it first


I don’t like to hurt

I hope you don’t

I’m in pain now

My neck, my lower back

My eyes from lack of sleep

I have heart disease

And it seems my heart and lungs

Work against me

When it hurts to breathe

Though they are not the source

They are victimized

By fluid

That should not be flowing,

Pressing there


Worse, my brother dies from cancer

And it hurts

The medicine might help

It also creates new trials

A passing between pain

And something like sedation

And somehow in the middle

Is what’s living


And you hurt

I don’t know how

And the world hurts

In every fracture


So where is God?

Where is the love of God?

Where is God is love?

God is there

Love’s there

If God allows

Much less or much more

Created pain

Then there is love as well

Also created

And I think



But pain is hard

It’s not good

We say pain is gain

But it isn’t

Pain is a signal that

Something’s wrong

And we’ll find out

Everyone finds out

The world dissembles, but

Pain is true

Pain sometimes teaches

Usually after the fact

Or in someone else’s story


I think if pain

Could not be real

If we couldn’t have it

That would be


We might say we’d

De-evolve without it

Maybe so

But then

The world would have to change

And would be changed

We don’t know how

We live with pain

We even bear it

When it won’t

Go away,


Which doesn’t mean

We should like it

That God should like it

Wish it

Before the fall,

We might well guess

There was no pain



There’s pain now

I don’t wish for you

Your pain means

A great deal to me

I cannot make it


Go away

Or mine

We’re stuck

And while we’re stuck

Comes all the learning

All the tempering like

Metal fired

And then struck

At least we’re not the ashes

At least we’re here

For everything


More so


And that’s what we have to say

Pain is real


C L Couch



(a Sunday School discussion from James 1, an epistle in the Christian New Testament)


notes (references)

Mere Christianity


“After Grean Pain, a Formal Feeling Comes”


[photographer’s narration] When we visited Utö, the most outer island of this beautiful archipelago in the place we call Finland, I allowed myself to be guided by the incredible energy of Inca, the daughter of the family we were visiting there. She took me to a series of abandoned bunkers from the times this island was a military strategic point and there I found this graffiti that represent very well the feeling of all that has to do with military, war, conflict and drama. With love from Korpo.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash