You're cleaning up your computer, and click the "Delete" button. and a popup appears - "Are you sure you want to delete?" After a long, busy day, seeing this confirmation message for the 136th time just really starts to get aggravating. You find yourself sassing off to your computer... "If I wasn't sure, I wouldn't have clicked Delete, you stupid machine!"
And then it happens, you go to delete or uninstall something else... and you don't get that message. It just permanently removes the thing from your computer. You quickly start slamming on escape, or cancel, or whatever you can find. You didn't truly want to hit delete that time! And you find yourself yelling at the computer again..."oh sure, you ask me on the 136 items I wanted gone, but can't ask on the one I didn't mean to delete?!?"
Would You Hit Delete?
Earlier this morning it was suggested that it sure would be nice in life if we could delete our problems as easily as we can delete a Google+ post that was shared in poor-judgement. One simple button - "Delete Pain."
We start to feel a breakdown come on... "Delete." We lose someone we love and start to feel the pain of that loss? "Delete!" We get frightened of a new task? "Delete." We fall down a few times trying to learn how to do something new. "Delete!" No more pain or memories of the pain of skinned knees - physical or metaphorical.
I often thought about what I would do if a genie came out of a bottle and offered to remove all the painful memories of my past. Or, perhaps even completely change my childhood so it was beautiful and full of love. Would I take that opportunity? Would I accept that incredible gift? And my answer to that question is the same as my answer to the question of "would I hit the Delete button every time I feel pain?"
As you may already know, I do not believe God is the one who causes us pain. He doesn't bestow pain and troubles upon us as punishment, or to strengthen us, or to teach us, or whatever other lies we have been told throughout our lives. However, just because He doesn't bring us the pain, He also doesn't always stop it. We are not in the Garden of Eden and we are not in Heaven. We are in the world. And, in this world, there is pain and trials.
And, while He does not bring us pain and trials as punishment, or to strengthen us, or to teach us - pain can do all of these.
I am certain that I never did grow in grace one-half so much anywhere as I have upon the bed of pain. ~ Charles Spurgeon
If you are sitting there thinking you're being punished... if you're curled up in a corner, wishing God would stop picking on you, wondering what you did so wrong in this world to deserve such pain.... if you're wishing you had a "Delete Pain" button - there is a good possibility pain is acting as a punishment. And why? Because you are allowing it to be a punishment. You're thinking about all the things you've done wrong which you should be punished for... and are allowing the pain you're going through to be that punishment.
If you are on your knees, pleading with God to please help you through this pain... if you're letting your tears wash over you as you let yourself feel God's loving arms envelop you... if you're listening with your whole heart to God's guidance - there is a good possibility pain is strengthening you, and teaching you. And why? Because you are allowing the Lord to strengthen you. You are allowing Him to guide you. You are allowing your pain to be used to make you better, stronger, and closer to God.
Living Without Pain
Pain is a kindly, hopeful thing, a certain proof of life, a clear assurance that all is not yet over, that there is still a chance. But if your heart has no pain — well, that may betoken health, as you suppose: but are you certain that it does not mean that your soul is dead? ~ A.J. GossipMany years ago I was put on anti-depressants. I have many friends who are on medication for depression, and so please don't think I am saying anything against medication in general. All I can speak of is for myself...
Anyway, as I said, I was put on anti-depressants. And it indeed took care of my pain. I didn't feel sad or depressed one bit. Nor did I feel frightened or anxious. Nor did I feel angry or jealous. Great!
I also did not feel happy, or excited, or thankful, or loved, or loving, or, well, basically I felt nothing. Emotionally, I was dead. Spiritually, I was dead.
Yes, it is possible to live without pain. But if you delete pain, you take away everything. If you have no pain to be freed from - how can you feel grateful to God for freeing you from it? If you have no pain of a broken heart, how can you have ever felt love? It all goes hand in hand.
So, if that button were in front of you... would you hit delete?
If you did hit it... would you be grateful for that "Are you sure you want to delete this?" confirmation message?