Growing Pains

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I had a significant growth spurt when I was about 12 or 13. Specifically, I remember going through the growth spurt because I can remember a significant amount of pain from growing. When I would lay down at night, my legs would ache, but there was nothing I could do. It was downright awful, yet ultimately I grew much taller than my family. 

There are a lot of things in life that require us to go through pain while we grow.

Like athletics or exercise, for example. You work out. You get sore. You run. You get tired. Soreness and fatigue are necessary in order to improve. And no matter how much stretching, medicating, and replenishing you try, there will still be pain. 

But what happens when you need spiritual growth?

In my experience, I’ve needed great pain to grow spiritually as well. It’s been the biggest difference in my walk with God. In the Bible, Romans tells us suffering can produce in us the things that signify spiritual growth.

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

Suffering—not just pain—suffering.

I’ve had my fair share of it over the last year. And the majority of it started with my own mistakes.

I’ve been alone. Nearly homeless. Unemployed. And did I mention alone?

I know now that it’s part of God’s design because without those hard times I would have continued of the path of doing the things that caused my trials.

Because I hit rock bottom – having no job, losing my wife, and having nowhere to live – I had very few options. To be honest, I could have chosen to continue a life of debauchery, I could give up, and I even thought of suicide for a long time. I faced dark times when all I wanted was to fall asleep and not wake up in the hell I was living in. Depression and anxiety were taking on whole new and personal meanings for me.

Instead, I held on to life. I found new faith in Christ. Admittedly, that didn’t fix everything, but somehow, I’m still standing. I’m still fighting and climbing out of valleys to get to the other side of my canyon. I learned that community with other Christians and vulnerability were not only beneficial, but for me they were life-changing and saving. My spiritual growth then, and even now, is taking me to places I had long ignored in my life.

My growing “pains” were very literal in nature. I was suffering. Undoubtedly. And all I could do was hope for something more, something better. And I grew into a Christian community that I wouldn’t change for anything. It’s a foundation that breathed life into the death I was walking in for many days.

If it weren’t for the hardest of times, I wouldn’t have been made aware of how much I need God. The people around me have blessed me and taught me that life is tough, but we serve a God who gives us all the tools to not only survive, but to thrive.

My hope now is to make it to other side of my canyon and use my growing to help others who are in need and who are suffering. I believe that was a call from God early on. The struggles that I was facing then and now are going to happen to someone else who needs Jesus just as much as I did – and still do.

Sea Glass - In the Hands Of The Father All Is Made New

Sea Glass

The brokenness of our lives, in the hands of our savior, is sea glass that God shines through to reveal His love, beauty and truth to others. But if we will not yield our lives, if we quit and walk away, then not only do we lose, but others don't get to see the beauty of God's hand on life.

Here's what Hannah Martin wrote about sea glass:

Shattered and broken, unwanted and used
Sharp useless pieces that no one could use
Tossed in the ocean without care or thought
Something that once had value, that someone once bought
Falling down deep to the ocean floor
No hope, no plan, no purpose anymore
For years it would toss through the pull of the waves
Changing in size, color and shape
Dragged through the rocks, the shells and sand
Till one day it washed up onto the land
Shining in the sunlight, a jewel on the ground
What once was unwanted, now a treasure found
Now it is searched for, now people seek it
Because of it's suffering, now people keep it
We all have our "sea glass" that we try to hide
Our broken pieces that we stuff down inside
Our hurts and our sufferings that need time
Time with the Healer so they can sparkle and shine
In the hands of the Father all is made new
Lord let my suffering draw others to you.
 
-Hannah Martin
Posted by Hannah Martin with

All Things Work Together For Good

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1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." This message that love could be love in the pain. That love could be love in the struggle. That love has to die and hurt -is the story of the cross for Jesus.

We know that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son (John 3:16). We know that love was crucified and suffered on the cross. But the message of the cross that we love, is that it's not just Jesus who must suffer and still love -it's us!

There is nothing wrong with you that you're experiencing what you're experiencing, because a God who is good has a purpose in the pain that He allows! This is the promise of scripture that "In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28

I'm just telling you, this completely reinterprets the pain of our lives when we begin to understand that God loves the work of His hammer. He trusts the heat of His forge. He knows the power of His hand to shape something that in the end is good and strong and right and true! 

We are small and wrong for resenting this process, and so when God seems gone, remember the word 'seems.' Champions for Christ don't quit on God even when the reasons seem good. In the good of God, the pain He brings serves a purpose He loves! -Dr. Drew Shofner

Posted by Dr. Drew Shofner with

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