A while back, I had difficulty getting my son to close his eyes while I washed his face in the shower. I’d have to tell him multiple times to close his eyelids in the same shower session. One day, I just let him do what he wanted, and to his discomfort, soap ran into his eyes. He had a miserable time. But now, I never have to ask him to shut his eyes – he does it without any encouragement on my part.
Kokoro Connect demonstrated the same principle this week. At the close of the episode, Heartseed lets the gang know that he presented this awful situation to them as a way of pushing them forward – of making them do the things they needed. The pain opened them up and caused them to do what was necessary.
This push reminded me of these lyrics*:
Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I’m burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me
These actions reminded me of God and his relationship with us. While I can’t relate Heartseed’s dishonesty or manipulation to God, a basic similarity arises. A message, oft repeated in evangelical circles (and said much more eloquently by others than I’ll paraphrase here), is this: God doesn’t mind hurting you if it helps you. Temporary pain might be necessary for eternal growth.
For instance, I have a close friend who has a pastor that mentors him. This pastor lost his young daughter a long time ago, before he became a minister. Grief-striken, he questioned a friend, asking why God would do this to him. As the man studied the question and learned more about God, he came to dedicate his life to Christ. Today, he pastors a megachurch.
Did God cause the young girl’s death so the man could come closer to God? That’s a big question and I don’t think it’s simply answered. For every bad thing that happens, there are often a variety of reasons, many of which we can’t see. And sometimes those “can’t sees” amount to learning experiences that can help us grow. That pain exists to draw us closer to God isn’t the answer to the problem of pain, but it’s an answer.
And as Nagase, Taichi, and the rest are discovering, sometimes a little hurt can lead to a good thing.
*Note: This post has a country twang to it – the title of the article and the lyrics above are both from country songs, sung by Patty Loveless and Garth Brooks, respectively.