Growth…The Painful Kind

January 10, 2011 § 3 Comments

Growth is my word for 2011. I felt God had stretched me in 2010 and now He needs to grow me into those stretched out places. Oh, but often growth is painful…

I remember being in the fourth grade and hitting a growth spurt (if you could call it that). I am vertically challenged. In fact my twin sister is nearly six inches taller than I am. Regardless, I still had growth spurts and for me they were quite painful. My knees and ankles in particular ached. It hurt to walk, run, jump, stand, sit, and even lay down. My parents took me to the doctor and I got a fancy name for my pain…Essentially the doctor said I just needed to grow. Once I grew the pain would be gone. My doctor was right, but those years were painful ones as I waited and grew.

Often we must endure pain to grow. A seed doesn’t grow into a plant without bulging and breaking through its skin to develop a root and then a plant. A tree doesn’t bear fruit without loosing its blossoms and allowing a bulging of fruit to burst forth. So it is true of our spiritual growth. We must endure pain to grow…

Let’s consider Job. He loves God. In fact, God and he are so tight that God has angels protecting him and his family. God is so pleased with Job that He points Job out to Satan. He says, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)

Arguably Job has arrived. God considers him blameless and upright. Yet, God still knows Job has growing to do. In fact God knows Job has misconceptions about who He is and He knows that in order to grow Job must endure pain. So God gives Satan permission to take everything Job has his possessions, his children, and his health. God loves Job enough that He doesn’t leave Job to rot, instead He shakes Job to the core so that he can grow.

What a God we have that isn’t afraid to let us go through hard things in this life so we can mature and grow in Him. He brings us to them and through them that we may grow in Him. He promises in Isaiah 41:2 that

“When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Thank You God that You are mightier than the difficulties we face. Thank You that You do not leave us to rot or mold, but You desire us to grow to reflect You more and more. Father help us as we face difficulties in our lives. Help us to see You training, growing, and refining us. Give us strength as we endure these difficult times. Give us peace as we trust You through them. Help our unbelief as we wonder what You are up to. Father help us to know You more. In Jesus’ name we pray these things. Amen.

I would love to pray with you through your growing times. Let me know what I can pray for you…Leave a comment so I can pray for you.

Can you pray that I will allow God to use me to minister to others going through infertility? As God deals with me through my struggle, He is asking me to come alongside others too. It opens old wounds, but it is also growing me. I appreciate your prayers.

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Oh Job…

February 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

So January found me reading Job.  I have to say that Job is a difficult book for me to wade through.  For one, the idea that God points out someone who is serving Him to Satan and says have you considered Job.  Makes me cringe a little.  Ok, it also makes me a bit excited.  I mean the God of all creation and the universe knows our names.  Cares about us!  Pretty cool, but why if Job was such a shining star on God’s team, did God see fit to point out to Satan how well Job was doing?  I mean God has NO reason to do a “mine is better than yours” argument with one of His created beings.  Alright, here is what I know about God.  He is good, faithful, honest, upright, powerful, continually drawing all to Him so that none may perish, the list is endless…  So why would God point out someone who is doing well to Satan?  Maybe, remember this is not Biblical, but my own musing, maybe God wanted Satan to see that a person fully devoted to God would stay strong regardless of his or her circumstances.  In fact many people whose love of God is sincere draw even closer to God through illness, loss, hard economic times.  So maybe this is God’s way of showing Satan that His kids are tougher than they appear.  Maybe it is God’s way of showing Job the strength of his faith.  Untested faith is pretty easy to swallow, but tested faith takes an iron gut.

Secondly Job is difficult because not even Job is actually in the right.  God Himself gets onto Job about his planned response to God.  The arguments he is presenting to his friends about how God has misused Job.  However not all of Job’s musings are inaccurate.  He talks of knowing his Redeemer lives and in the end He (Job’s Redeemer) will stand on the earth.  He says “though He (God) slay me, yet I will hope in Him (God).”  So Job in the midst of losing all his children, losing all his wealth, and losing his health makes these awesome professions of faith.  However he also laments the day of his birth.  No, he never curses God, but Job does accuse God of injustice.  Job tells his wife essentially how can we accept good from God and not bad.  Then he promptly turns around and says I am innocent and essentially claims to be without sin.  This makes it difficult to see when Job is appropriately representing God and His dealings with man and when Job is not.  I most likely struggle with reading Job because I find myself much like Job.  I make huge professions of faith knowing that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Then two seconds later I am begging God for mercy and to spare me from the difficult parts of life.  That is part of my humanity with which I have never come to grips.

Thirdly, Job’s friends are the “I think I have God figured out” sort of people.  They speak half truths or truths that match their understanding of God.  It is like God fits in their perfect little box and when hard times come, it all  makes sense to them.  It has to be Job’s sin…Oh, that I may never presume to know God’s plan for hard times people are going through.  That I may remember that God isn’t a vending machine that you put in a “good” life and out pops prosperity, health, and smooth sailing for the rest of my life.  No, remember from my last post that it is God who makes me holy.  It is God who as Job says gives and takes away.  God knows those perfect plans to give us a future and a hope.  May I seek to honor Him in the good and the bad…May I seek to know Him more by reading even the difficult parts of scripture because God has something for me in those things as well as the easy things to swallow.

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