How rare it was as children to have an adult seek to understand our suffering and to extend comfort to us. Although adults remember the pain from their childhood, they have a tendency not to appreciate the present suffering of the children who surround them. In his autobiography C.S. Lewis candidly tells of his many trials as a boy and then writes of his bewilderment at how adults fail to grasp the significance of the anguish of a child even though they themselves had experienced pain as children! He writes:
”Why, by the way, do some writers talk as if care and worry were the special characteristics of adult life? It appears to me that there is more atra cura (dark gloom, trouble, anxiety) in an average schoolboy’s week than in a grown man’s average year.”
A pat on the head along with a “You’ll be OK” is not a Godly or thoughtful response to the pain a child is experiencing. (Obviously there are degrees of hardship in childhood and you must discern between what is true suffering and what is just a skinned knee.)
The Lord is no less involved in the life of a 6-year-old than he is in a 60-year-old. We are quick to give comfort, guidance, and counsel to adults who are suffering but give little reflection to the ways of God through suffering in the lives of boys and girls. The possibility that God and his purposes could be behind the heartbreak, sorrow, and despair of a child may not even cross our minds.
Some of the questions we should be asking are:
- What is the Heavenly Father cultivating in the life of this child through suffering?
- What is the Lord saying to this child through sorrow?
- How is this trial affecting this child’s perspective of God?
 C.S. Lewis, “Surprised by Joy”, (New York: Inspiration Press, 1987), p. 50.
This is such a great reminder! Thanks for posting it!