The Gift Nobody Wants

Documentarian Melody Gilbert follows three girls' daily lives -- a 3-year-old Minnesotan, a 7-year-old Norwegian, and a 10-year-old German -- who share a sporadic disease: congenital insensitivity to pain. Despite seeming like a possible blessing - sufferers cannot feel when they are burning their hands, cutting their feet, even a broken bone - so they lack that warning sign by which sudden pain alerts the rest of us to the danger, causing us to jump back, let go of a hot pan, or otherwise protect ourselves from further harm.

You see, congenital insensitivity to pain is a condition that inhibits the ability to perceive physical pain. Pain is necessary! In this way, the problem actually protects us by functioning as a very significant warning signal. For children then, incredibly, lacking this signal becomes extremely dangerous and demands just absolute continuous protection, and many injuries are made worse by not alerting the child to, for example, pull their hand back from a hot stove and so on. However, pain is the gift nobody wants.

In this week's message, Pastor Dre suggests that pleasure and pain come to us not as opposites but as twins, strangely joined and intertwined. Think about it. Nearly all memories of acute happiness, in fact, involve some element of pain or struggle. Struggle, suffering, and persecution simply happen to us and require a response of faith in God's goodness and wisdom. Even when it seems He is not at work! Keep on rejoicing.

Keep on rejoicing because suffering is not a surprise but a plan. When thrown in the cellars of sorrow, keep on rejoicing! When in the sea of affliction, keep on rejoicing! In fact, keep on rejoicing not despite the pain but even because of it. This is not a little piece of advice about the power of positive thinking. This is an utterly radical, abnormal, supernatural way to respond to suffering and pain. It is not in our control. It is not for the sake of our honor. It is the way spiritual aliens and exiles live on the earth for the glory of God. It proves and strengthens real faith, and it consumes "performance faith." Suffering is not surprising; it is purposeful. Celebrate the Savior, and keep on rejoicing!
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