Jesus

Growing Pains

I detest discomfort. From as far back as I can remember I have been this way. As a kid if my socks bunched up under my toes I would flip out. My socks had to fit perfectly, otherwise I just could not get past the discomfort.

I suspect this feeling characterizes most of us in western culture. We have such a disdain for discomfort that we avoid it at all costs. That’s why Americans spend over $2 billion a year on non-prescription pain killers. We can’t even stand a small headache. Now, while I think this presents a problem, I think this mindset of avoiding discomfort brings has another unintended consequence.

Most Christians in America carry their disdain for discomfort into their walk with God. The assumption is that God thinks the same way as we do. He will lead us down a path free of bumps, confusion, or discomfort. But I have found that to be the opposite of where God has lead me in my walk with Him. He seems to care little about my comfort level and more about the person He’s shaping me to be.

This is where my reaction to pain and discomfort brings up a serious issue. Often God leads me somewhere that strips me of my comfort. My first reaction to this is to object and search for a different path. I have seen this reaction to be true in my life and the lives of Christians around me. But when we take this way of thinking and apply it to our walk with God we become confused.

We assume that God wants to make our life better, ie easier. However God wants to make us better, ie more like Him. God cares less about our comfort level and more about the person we are becoming.

God takes the discomfort in our life to stretch us into the person He wants us to be. He is transforming us into a person full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But instead of recognizing the work God is doing we look for ways to bail. What we often don’t realize is that the thing we are trying to get away from is the thing that God is trying to use to grow us.

The past 6-8 months have been a season of discomfort and uncertainty for my wife and I. We left our jobs, sold our house, put our stuff in storage, and hit the road not know where God was going to lead us. There were some really fun times and memories I won’t forget. However there were also some really difficult times where I doubted God would actually come through.

It’s a strange place to be in when you don’t know what’s coming next in life. When seemingly everything is out of your hands, totally reliant on God providing and no backup plan in place. Never have I been more uncomfortable than in this past season of life. My prayers sounded like a broken record: “God, please let this season end.”

But this time I did something different. This time, instead of following my natural instinct and bailing, I decided to keep trusting God. Believe me that wasn’t easy! Most mornings I would wake up wanting nothing more than to go out and take matters into my own hands. But I couldn’t. This time I saw the discomfort differently. I no longer viewed it as holding me back from having a good life. I saw it as shaping me into the man God wanted me to be.

Now on the other side I’m glad I didn’t bail. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t like it, and I don’t care to repeat this past season anytime soon. However it changed me; it put me in a place for God to mold me more into His image. And that is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Although with varying circumstances all of us will experience a season or two like this in life. And you will have to decide what to do with it. You can bail and try to get out yourself. And you very well might be able to make it better on your own. However, don’t miss out on what God is trying to teach you in that season. Don’t miss out on the person He molding you to be in that moment.

God doesn’t waste anything. Not a moment of pain or discomfort goes unnoticed or unused. If we let Him, He takes those seasons that we thought were going to end us and uses them to rebuild us.

I want to end with this scripture. This has long been one of my favorite books and one of my favorite passages. Check out what Paul says in Romans 8:18-30:

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

 

32 comments on “Growing Pains

  1. Great post! Have a blessed day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fantastic post! “I no longer viewed it as holding me back from having a good life. I saw it as shaping me into the man God wanted me to be.” Praise God that by his grace you have been able to embrace this new paradigm! It’ll be a game changer. This post was a great primer and food for thought as I prepare a 2 week sermon series on a biblical view of suffering! Thanks for the food 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I came to this conclusion after a hard time a couple of years ago – I wrote in my journal that if I could go back and relive the year I would rather have the hard time and grow closer to Him than have an easy time and stay where I was. It’s a lesson I look back to and that gives me courage and faith to stand when those times come. Ever closer, more like Him.
    Bless you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Such a good post and that’s also one of my favorite Scriptures. I wrote something similar last year. Luke 9: 23 – 27 in the Message version underscores and strengthens what you say too (“Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.”).

    I fled God as a teenager because I was unable to protect someone I loved from his suffering. My trust of God was broken because it rested upon the idolatry of people’s love and approval. I was angry at God for the suffering of this loved one, but rather than show my anger in trust and allow Him to both show me it was based on idolatry and comfort me, I hid myself and strove after perfection to try to be “good”. God brought me back to that memory more than twenty years later and made me face the suffering head-on in therapy: and He then revealed that He had been there right alongside the one I loved, all along.

    This is a small bit of what I wrote:
    Somehow, I think I expected as a young Christian that pain should not be a part of the journey. Wasn’t our God a God of healing, of strength of power? And now I hear Him saying: “But Anna, if I take it all away, how can you learn to lean on, feel safe and become confident in my strength, in my healing, in my power? And how can others see my strength, healing and power in the transformation I am working? Have I not called you to take up your cross, to give witness to your weaknesses, your limitations, so that My strength, My power can be revealed?”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awesome testimony of trust in God!

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  6. Great post Curtis.

    Like

  7. For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
    “In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15 ESV)
    I so appreciated your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The anonymous is me .Grammie

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  9. Reblogged this on Poise and Candor and commented:
    A season I can relate to all too well. This was such an encouraging read.

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  10. Wow! Nail on head — ouch! I am also in this season of waiting for God to reveal what is next. Thank you for writing this. I have not been able to write about it yet. It has been seven months for me so far. I want to say that one thing you wrote stood out, but it didn’t — every thing is true and resonates.

    God’s Word has become much more personal during this season. This morning I read the story of David and Goliath (1Sam.17) as if for the first time. David ran toward Goliath, ran?!

    And the hymn I read this morning brought buckets of soul-stirring:
    “There’s a sweet and blessed story of the Christ who came from glory, just to rescue me from sin and misery; He in loving kindness sought me, and from sin and shame hath bro’t me, Hallelujah! Jesus ransomed me.
    Hallelujah, what a Savior! Who can take a poor lost sinner, lift him from the miry clay and set him free; Hallelujah! I will ever tell the story, shouting Glory, glory, glory, Hallelujah! Jesus ransomed me.” ~Julia H. Johnston

    Sometimes I think God just takes away the things that distract us from seeing Him. 2 Cor. 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” ~Joyce

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks for sharing. Those growing pains definitely stretch us and cause us to grow. I’m grateful that God is with us every step of the way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Excellent post. It is certainly a lesson that is difficult to learn but which is also essential for growth in Christ.

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  13. hisnamebpraised

    Seeing God in the discomfort and not trying to rationalize the discomfort as something else but faithfully seeing God in the journey is a wonderful revelation. Thank God that you did not decide to bail and you also felt the urgening to write about it. Thanks for stopping by hisnamebpraised and liking the post. Wishing you continued blessing in your journeys and ministry and praying for blessings to you and to all who are fortunate enough to come to this site. May you have a very fulfilling, redemptive and blessed Easter. Yours in His Name, Doug

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Romans 8 has been popping up consistently lately. Wonder if I should slow down and change my plans to read it with Spirit help? God has something to say, the tough one is will I listen? Thanks for the encouragement Jeffery. Change is a constant no matter how hard i fight it, still learning to embrace change as a path to the manifestation of God in this life. I am a wannabe writer you are doing just fine…. Thank you! He has risen!

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  15. Great post! It seems to me that often God takes us out of our comfort zone to remind us that we need Him. Every.moment.every.day.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this post. It is the stage I am in now, I am preparing a blog about the fight between my mind and spirit the fight against anxiety.

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  17. Reblogged this on Mark: My Words and commented:
    “What we often don’t realize is that the thing we are trying to get away from is the thing that God is trying to use to grow us.”

    Talk about the uncomfortable truth. Like this blogger, I have a strong aversion to discomfort, pain or even mild inconvenience. You’d think I’d have learnt after 30+ years that God’s agenda isn’t the same as mine; but no. I still like to entertain the delusion that belonging to a loving Heavenly Father means He’ll always see it my way.

    Good reminder.

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  18. Reblogged. Thanks for reading me of this uncomfortable truth 🙂

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  19. I understand. Now I am going through many discomfort.

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  20. I was reminded to be patient on His work in me. Thank you!

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  21. Thank you. I know what you are talking about. I had that kind of conversation with God this morning. The pollen is really bad right now. I have allergies and have thus been coughing up a storm for several days. I always trust God for my healing. I don’t take medicines. I had this really horrible headache this morning, which only got worse with each cough. I felt I was at death’s door, I hurt so badly. Yet, I chose to keep trusting my Lord with my pain and suffering, believing him for my continued healing. I didn’t give way to fear, though I was certainly under temptation. I told the Lord that, although I know he is my healer, that I also know he allowed this in my life for a purpose, so I was going to choose to trust him. I asked him to teach me what he wants me to learn through this. I am still coughing, but the headache is gone for now. Praise Jesus! Sue

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  22. This is so well articulated and true. God does not allow any of our experiences to occur in vain. The times where I have felt God’s presence and understood His will over my life are the times after my comfort has been stripped away from me, when I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom and all I have left is God… but He is enough. And although you wouldn’t want to go through that experience again, you’re grateful that it happened because you realise that with God, you can get through anything. He is enough.

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  23. Wow. A living epistle speaks loudly.

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  24. carmencoreas

    Beautiful!!!! May the Lord bless you and you’re family.

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  25. Great piece. I’ve bej

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  26. I’ve been struggling a bit with my growth pain…thanks for your writeup.. Great reminder that pruning is necessary for much fruit bearing

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