That suffering is not always sent as a punishment is clearly established for believers by the book of Job and by John IX. 1–4. That it sometimes is, is suggested by parts of the Old Testament and Revelation. It wd. certainly be most dangerous to assume that any given pain was penal. I believe that all pain is contrary to God’s will, absolutely but not relatively. When I am taking a thorn out of my own finger (or a child’s finger) the pain is “absolutely” contrary to my will; i.e. if I could have chosen a situation without pain I would have done so. But I do will what caused the pain, relatively to the given situation; i.e. granted the thorn I prefer the pain to leaving the thorn where it is. A mother spanking a child would be in the same position; she would rather cause it this pain than let it go on pulling the cat’s tail, but she would like it better if no situation which demands a smack had arisen.

- Letters of C. S. Lewis
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