Updated: Feb 16, 2022
Until my grandson reached pre-puberty, I didn’t know that “growing pains” were a real thing. I had heard the term many times, but always metaphorically. When going through difficult times in my own teen years my Mom would tell me, “Oh, you’re having growing pains.” It wasn’t until my grandson started having literal growing pains that I understood that they are a real, physical thing.
Often times Alex would have difficulty getting to sleep because of pain in his legs. Sometimes he would fall asleep effortlessly only to be awakened in the middle of the night with cramps and pain in his legs and feet. Thankfully, this problem was eased with children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
Being in ministry, I have sat and listened to many people as they have shared their struggles and searched for realistic, applicable, answers. One day I sat and listened as a married couple poured their hearts out about the difficulties they were battling in their relationship. Both of them were broken and tired. As they shared their story the woman acknowledged how God had helped her to change and grow in the few previous weeks. In her “desperate for it to stop voice” she blurted, “God is moving so fast!”
Placing my hand gently on her shoulder, I calmly reassured her that I was probably partly to blame for that. I went on to tell them both that I had been praying for them and asking Jesus to heal them, individually, and as a couple. I topped off my prayers each time with, “please Lord, what you must do, do quickly.”
The fact of the matter is, I sincerely believe we don’t have a lot of time left; that we are in the last hours of the end times. Therefore, we need to “be about the Father’s business.”
Revelation 12 speaks of a woman in great pain bringing forth a man-child. I’m sure that any of us mothers know what that is like. Whether natural delivery or C-Section, we not only know the pain involved, but we know the desperate desire to finally give birth after carrying our baby for so many months. As the baby grew inside our womb we became more and more uncomfortable. Many times it was painful if Jr moved or kicked just right. By the time the labor pains began we were weary, exhausted, uncomfortable, and just plain sick and tired of being pregnant. We wanted to get that baby out!
When my daughter birthed my grandson I was in the delivery room with her and my son in-law. She was in labor for twenty-nine hours. In the final minutes, when the pain was most intense, my daughter cried out, “I can’t do this anymore!” She didn’t know that at that very minute my son in-law and myself saw Alex’s head crowning. New life was finally here! Some women remember this moment as the most painful part of birthing, calling it “the ring of fire.” This moment is usually accompanied with yelling, screaming, crying, in excruciating pain.
But oh, the joy that follows. Immediately after the midwife received Alex into her hands, and she instantly laid him on my daughters chest. She clutched her baby closely to herself. She had received her reward!
“God doesn’t ask, “Do you want to go through this loss of a loved one, this difficulty, or this defeat?” No, He allows these things for His own purpose. The things we are going through are either making us sweeter and better men and women, or they are making us more critical and fault-finding, and more insistent on our own way.” ~Oswald Chambers
Psalm 30:5 promises us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17
There was a Greek proverb, familiar to the Jews and anyone who made a living in agriculture. Farmer’s often used an ox goad. It was a pointed piece of iron and was used to direct their oxen when plowing. The farmer would prick the animal to steer it in the right direction. Sometimes the animal would kick out at the prick, and this would result in the prick being driven even further into its flesh. Simply put, the more an ox rebelled, the more it suffered. Jesus spoke to Saul (who was later called Paul) on the road to Damascus and said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” (Acts 26:14)
Again, in Hebrews 5:8, Paul tells us that “even though Jesus was God’s son, he learned obedience by the things that he suffered.”
I don’t know anyone who likes experiencing pain or difficulties. But the fact remains, we are going to experience it whether we like it or not. If we could just remember when we’re going through it that there is life, joy, and strength on the other side of it. I recently listened to Mark Lowry (short video below) talking about surviving a tornado and I found it very encouraging.