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Growing Pains

October 1st, 2012

“When they walk through the valley of weeping – they will continue to grow.” Psalm 84:6-7 NLT.

Pain aversion is rarely a formula for successful growth.

My thoughts and comments today are about “growing pains.”

Life will not be happy all the time; wishing it would be is wasted effort. There will be tears. Every day life may bring pain from broken plans, broken friendships, broken dreams, and sometimes broken hearts. That’s when you learn what you truly believe, what real faith is all about, and how to grow in your knowledge of the character and sufficiency of God on the most personal level. See 2 Peter 3:18 NIV.

No one likes times that grieve the heart. Pain aversion is rarely a formula for success. Useless worry and wasted energy is the only thing that results from such an attempt. However, the person who chooses to grow through their pain will find unexpected joy on the victory side of life’s most sobering, even sorrowful, experiences. See John 16:20-22 NLT.

There is no quick relief; an easy way out will produce no victory or growth. In your pain, turn to God for wisdom to see your situation as God sees it. Look at life vertically, not horizontally. “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” James 1:2-4. Maybe your pain and disappointment are an opportunity for joy not despair. You are not asked to rejoice because of trouble, but rejoice because of God’s sufficient grace; you will grow and trouble will not endure.

When you run from your pain, you also run from the joy God will bring. The Psalmist wrote, “When they walk through the valley of weeping – they will continue to grow.” Psalm 84:6-7 NLT. That’s a process, but there’s a promise as well. The process is that you have to, “walk through the valley of weeping.” You will make it through; God is faithful. It’s neither easy nor pain-free, but there and then you meet God. His faithful promise is, “you will continue to grow” – in character, faith, wisdom, confidence, and spiritual development. You learn to know God and yourself better. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they are good for us – they help us learn to endure . .” Read Romans 5:3-5 NLT.

An elderly Christ-follower, whose years showed the marks of pain and loss but the countenance of grace, was asked for his favorite Bible verse. Quickly, with little thought but insightful understanding, he said, “And it came to pass!” He surmised that his trouble had not come to stay, but had come to pass! He didn’t have the context right, but he captured the truth. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5.

What you are experiencing at the moment is not forever, even when your feelings and fear suggest that it could be. In the face of your weeping, God will give you grace to: embrace it, grieve it, express it, then release it and go on stronger than before. It’s a process you have to go through. At every step, you grow stronger; your faith and confidence build; you find a deeper and greater joy. Don’t waste your tears; let them water the joy in your soul.

My prayer for you today is this: in the moment of pain, embrace grace and grow in God.

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