Abstinence is inseperable from our Christian life.
God's first instruction to Adam was to abstain from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When God realized that Adam and Eve failed, He abstained Adam and Eve from His own Presence and the Garden of Eden by His command.
Was that painful to Adam and Eve?
Yes. The transition of the soul from being the presence to God and in the Garden of Eden, to being in the darkness, loneliness, with no way to reach out to God, must have been a very terrible experience to Adam and Eve. The spirit and soul of Adam, which was so used to being in the Lord's presence is now in powerless abstinence from the Lord. It is like abstaining a baby from the parent. It is painful to the parent and the child. God missed the man and woman He created in the Garden with His own image. He created man with authority and told him to multiply and fill it. Though Adam and Eve multiplied, His Garden is empty.
To Adam and Eve God is their creator and maker, they know Him only as their ancestor. Now for their soul and spirit to be in abstinence from God, is unimaginably hard. Their own body, this life, this world is like a cage which is abstaining them from reaching to God and with no way to go back to the place which is their home. There was no hope in that cage, there was only punishment, loneliness, pain and suffering. The whole human race was locked down in the cage away from home.
Are we still in the same cage?
We are still in the same ancestoral cage. But we don't feel the pain of God's absence in the soul as much as Adam and Eve, because we were born in sin and our soul never tasted the presence of God, except for being in His image. But still we face physical pain and sufferings. Because of the sorrow, pain and cry of the human beings the soul started to call for a Savior for rescue. God because of His mercy and grace, slowly started speaking to the soul. A new relationship started forming between the abstained soul and the Lord.
Are we getting out of the cage?
For our Salvation, God sent Jesus Christ, His own son, who was not born of sin but from the Spirit of God, entered this cage by taking human form, and He showed us, his brothers, the way to Heaven. He gave our souls the taste of Heaven, by His presence. By His obedience on the cross He lead us to salvation. He left us with a promise that He will come back to take us all Home.
My cage is transformed with Hope.
Though I am in still the same cage and I know that I am abstained from being in the Presence of God. My cage if full of Hope with my Faith in Jesus Christ, that He will come to take me home, a home where I have never been before. Only my forefather Adam has been, I have never been there and I dont know how it looks or feels. But still in my Faith and my Hope, and through the Holy Spirit, I look at His day.