But Still You Will Grow

“Your life will shake in the process of maturing into the person God intends.” Peter Scazzero

Remember when you were still a child and every once in a while, you would find yourself doubled over in pain, or feeling discomfort within your body that had no visible source?

I do. I remember well the day that I went to my parents to tell them my body was hurting and I thought something was wrong. Without hesitation my dad stood up from the dining room table where he was sitting with my mom, walked over to where I was standing and took hold of my right arm. He lifted it high in the air, before drawing it out to the side. He then gently tugged on it a few times. He did the same with my left arm. After which he then had me do five jumping jacks. I noticed that while I was jumping he and my mom were exchanging little smiles. When I was still again he informed me that I was going to survive, that the pain I was feeling was growing pains and that they were perfectly normal.

I admit, there was a little part of me that had hoped there was something catastrophically wrong because growing pains should not have worried me so much. Yet, at the same time I was filled with relief that I wasn’t going to need an operation.

Because this was the first time I had heard of growing pains – at least in a context that related to me enough to pay attention – I spent some time wondering about what was going on. That day while mom was in the laundry room I went in and asked her what was happening and why it hurt. She explained to me that as kids mature their bones grow and sometimes when there is a growth spurt the muscles surrounding the bones are stretched and that stretching causes discomfort.

Did I want to go back to the day before when I felt good and had no discomfort? Nope. I was growing, and the excitement that came with knowing I was getting taller made me want to grow more, despite the groaning of my muscles.

I know I have shared this story with some of you before, but yesterday during Sunday School the subject of suffering came up and the question of why bad things happen sparked discussion. During that discussion we were reminded that we grow through difficulty and hardship and just as physical growth can be uncomfortable and even painful, the same is true for spiritual and emotional growth.
As is often the case when we talk about people who suffered it is easy to immediately go to the life of Job and all that he endured and lost. However, in my opinion, because of the extreme torment he went through, it can be hard to relate to his story and draw from it.

This morning as I reflected on the discussion yesterday I wanted to find a couple of other examples that may be a little less overwhelming. Elijah, a hard-working man who was unafraid to challenge prophets, who spent his life speaking to people found himself out in the wilderness alone with nothing, confined to a small stream and living off of bread and meat provided by God through ravens. Jeremiah continually wrestled with loneliness, insecurity and discouragement. David struggled with guilt and shame over his sins, and feelings of deep despair over the loss of his sons. There are countless other accounts of people in the Bible who struggled with many of the same difficulties we struggle with today. And they are there in scripture to offer us encouragement, hope, and understanding.

Suffering will come, hardship will come, pain will come for everyone. For those with hope in the Lord we have the assurance that no matter the outcome we will grow!

1 Peter 1:3-9 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

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