Vaccinating your child and the problem of pain
May 11, 2006 Leave a comment
This week my wife and I are taking our 4 month old boy to the doctor to get his second round of immunizations. While I was not present when the first round was administered I will be there for the second. From what my wife tells me he cried in a most pitiable manner not only after the sticks but for a whole hour when they got home.
With this information in mind, I'm not looking forward to this. It's going to hurt him immensely and the poor baby won't see any rhyme or reason for the pain being inflicted on him. I don't want to see him suffer and because of this I'm tempted to just tell my wife to cancel the appointment. But would this be wise? Of course not, the shots he's getting tomorrow will protect him from some of the worst diseases known to man and thus protect him from further pain down the road.
So why I'm sharing this imminent tale of woe? Well, this dilemma that we face with our child could be an illustration of what God sees when we are going through pain in our lives. There are things that happen to us that are painful. Sometimes we have no idea why a loving God would allow us to suffer such agony. Maybe the experience will cause us to question whether God loves us or not, perhaps even doubt His existence. However, just like I can see the benefits of getting our son his shots (and he of course can't at this point), God can see much farther down the line than we can. As a matter of fact He not only can see down the line but He can see the whole line, if you will. He can see that the pain we go through in the now, will only strengthen us against future trials (like a vaccine protects against downstream offenses).
(Shameless CS Lewis plug: CS Lewis' treatise on the subject, "The Problem of Pain" goes into much further detail in regard to this issue.)