My mom often reminds me of all the times I was younger and would wake up crying in the middle of the night because of how bad my legs hurt. Nine times out of ten (if they didn’t hear me crying yet) I would find myself headed down to my parents’ room at about 3am, asking if one of them could rub my legs and take away the pain.
Growing pains. Legs aren’t the only thing that experience growing pains.
Life has growing pains, too.
If my six-year-old self didn’t grow, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
God created our bodies to grow, flourish, endure pain, encounter wins, accomplish, work, serve…etc.
It’s hard to accept and understand that “growth often means pain or uncertainty”. Paul boldly reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God is not absent in uncertainty, in fact, I believe that is when He shows Himself the most powerfully. Uncertainty is uncomfortable and scary, but when we face uncertainty, it yields us the opportunity to be solely dependent on the one who knows the outcome. And trust that His plan is greater than ours.
If you look back at the lives of the prophets—from Moses to Elijah to Jonah—their lives were often lived in uncertainty. Much like us.
God nudged them to unknown places—from wildernesses to mountain tops, but He was there each step along the way. God gave them the words to say and the provision they needed.
And just like us, they too had to learn and grow. And even in the uncertainty, God made that happen.
And yes, while knowing what the future would be great, we would miss out on the growth God has for us in the present and reliance on Him being instilled within us.
We can be confident that even through life’s growing pains, the Lord’s strength is our gain.
Think about one of your biggest “growth experiences”… I guarantee it brought some pain, hardship, or heartbreak. I can speak from experience, it 100% has for me.
I am currently navigating through some growing pains, myself. And I’m here to remind you, even through the pain, confusion, plot twists and countless emotions.
He remains. His words remain. His strength remains. His grace is sufficient for you, in every season. Every unknown. Every circumstance.
Just shy of two months ago, I lost someone extremely close to me from their 15-month battle to cancer. I’ve spoken about Ben before, actually in my last blog I wrote for LO a few months back; although, when I shared about Ben back in June, he was in remission, studying hard for his MCAT, applying to Medical schools and just short of proposing to my sister after 7 years of dating. Life seemed back to normal. It felt as if this long year of cancer and uncertainty fell behind us. On August 4th, 2023, Ben was back in Houston at MD Anderson for his regular checkup scans, and they discovered a recurrence of his cancer in the lining of his brain and spinal fluid. Certainly not news we were expecting or prayed so hard for. And just like that, life felt numb again. I was confused, sad, and so uncertain about what the future held, but I also was met with peace and confidence the Lord would heal Ben.
God will always meet you where you feel your fears have taken over. He will turn them into truth, peace and a certainty only He can provide.
Ben never lost hope or quit fighting. We prayed hard for a miracle, we believed in a miracle, we asked for healing over Ben every day… God just showed us He can heal in Heaven too. A safer place. A perfect place. A place where pain has no name.
On September 8th 2023, Ben passed and entered the gates of Heaven, about 5 rounds of chemo in. Ben was the toughest, most faithful soldier I’ve ever known. I have so many texts between the two of us when all he would say is “I just pray my story brings people closer to God”. And it sure did.
In fact, at Ben’s funeral, his three older sisters and my sister all went up there to speak together, and two of his sisters publicly committed to Jesus Christ that day in front of about 400 people, to start living their life for Christ because that is what Ben inspired them to do. How beautiful.
Often, I don’t understand Gods plan. But if I understood it, why would I need faith? Where would the growth take place? Where would our hope be?
It is the promise of God that he can bring good out of anything, even pain, if we trust him. Roman 8:28 is one of the most beloved verses in the Bible, but it’s also one of the most misquoted and misunderstood…
It does not say, “All things that happen to us are good.”
It also does not say, “All things will have a happy ending.”
That too is not reality: not every disease is healed; not every pain is removed on this side of Heaven.
Here is what Paul says and what it truly means:
“And we know …” We don’t have to wonder or doubt. We can be certain.
“In all things …” Our hurt, grief, mistakes, sins, genetics, or even what others do to us.
“God works for the good …” Not everything is good, but God is always working for our good in everything. God can bring good out of evil. He turned a crucifixion into a resurrection.
“Of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose” The key to our hope is understanding God’s purpose for our lives, including our pain. Only then will we find meaning, benefit, and even joy in our suffering.
Jesus is our anchor in the storm- even when it feels like the ship is going under.
Navigating grief is hard. Navigating LIFE is hard. Navigating growing pains is hard. But God doesn’t leave anything empty.
Having Jesus in your life does not make life perfect or easy, in fact He tells us in John 16:33 that “In this life you will face trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.” Having Jesus in your life assures, you never walk alone.
In Psalm 23 David writes to us,
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
When you find your feet in a season of growing pains, battling confusion, hurt, loss, loneliness or even in your happiest seasons, you are never walking alone. You have a God that is fighting right by your side, loving you, and rejoicing over you every step of the way.
James 1:2 says, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
God is continually teaching me every season, specifically my current season, pain or growth should be counted as joy, because it will change us for the better. Growing pains will draw us closer to God and expose our true need for Him. God takes what the enemy meant for evil and turns it for good.
Every. single. time.