I was talking with my best friend recently and we were discussing how there is often suffering in the midst of God’s goodness in our lives. It made me think of when I was growing up; I got pretty tall pretty quickly, and my legs and back would just ache and ache and ache. The thing is, though, whenever I would tell a doctor or parent about it, their response was always, “You’re in a growth spurt.” Never once did anyone tell me, “You’re in a pain spurt.” No one exclusively focused on the pain; everyone acknowledged what was really going on: I was growing.
I think the same thing happens in our spiritual lives, except we focus on the wrong thing. I think oftentimes we are growing, and that involves some aches and pains and stretch marks, but instead of talking about what’s really happening–we are growing–all we ever talk about is we are hurting. The pain is not the circumstance. Growth is the circumstance. Pain is simply a symptom of the circumstance. Yes, the pain is real, but SO IS THE GROWTH. Focusing on the growth doesn’t make the pain go away, of course, but it shows its purpose. We are not suffering for nothing. We are aching because we are growing.
Romans 8:22-25 NLT
“For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 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. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)”