In light of many friends struggling through the recent floods here in Texas, I offer a few words from my forthcoming book, God, What on Earth are You Doing?
Learning to trust God in the midst of intense suffering is a process which usually contains many twists and turns. That certainly was the case for C.S. Lewis who wrote two books on the subject of suffering. The first one, The Problem of Pain, sought to address some of the typical questions about suffering. Rather predictably, Lewis underscored things like human freedom. The Problem of Pain has some helpful insights, but it is what I like to call a “rather neat and tidy book.” Suffering is presented in such a way that the reader is invited to conclude, “Oh yes, I see, this suffering of mine makes sense after all.” Lewis was a bachelor when he wrote The Problem of Pain.
On the other side of the spectrum is A Grief Observed. It is like reading the dark and desperate reflections of a friend’s private journal. This second book on suffering was written as Lewis tried to “make sense” of losing his wife. The ache Lewis felt was too raw for neat and tidy, philosophical truths, no matter how true they happened to be.
Suffering has many causes. Furthermore, everyone processes their suffering differently. Different Christians tend to emphasize different things about God, so what it means to trust God during times of suffering is no simple matter. I vividly remember our two sons playing with a favorite train set. Well, our oldest son was playing with it while his younger brother was trying to join in. Our older son is typically good at sharing, but not on this occasion. Spying out an opportunity to wow our two young sons with some godly wisdom, I asked, “Hey David. What do you think Jesus would do?” David briefly looked my way and nonchalantly responded, “Jesus would make another train.” My son was focused on the power of God while I was focused on God’s generosity.
 It is not unusual to see the two books by Lewis characterized in this sort of manner. For example, see Armand M. Nicholi, Jr., The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life (New York, NY: The Free Press, 2002), 210.