Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blessed bumps

In the midst of our greatest struggles we come face to face with the most precious of blessings.
It may seem counterintuitive. How could our most difficult circumstances and trying of struggles be a great gift? Aren't the times of ease and prosperity the blessed days and the tough days are just the unpleasant road to easy street?
I know we all want to get to kick back every day and just skate through life without bumps and certainly without bruises. The trouble with that life is that it produces little to no growth. Just think about it, when life is smooth sailing are you challenged to grow emotionally and spiritually? Do the times of steady bliss cause you to renew your strength in God or does it lead to a stale complacency?
I can't answer for you but I can answer for myself. I need the struggles. The tension of difficulty produces growth in me. Ease does not. Ease leads to a monotonous faith that starts to reek of milk that has been left out too long. Just like the milk needs the fridge to stay fresh, I need difficulty to keep my faith fresh and fully alive.
Although I recognize that God uses the difficult days and moments to grow my reliance on Him, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm always immediately on board with the pain that takes place. In fact, I usually rail against it for at least a little while. I am so short sighted and quick to forget the past that I neglect the principle God has taught me: growth comes through struggle - and it's painful.
Yet, when God throws another bump in my road I am prone to a temper tantrum like a small child in the grocery store check out line who wants a bag of M&Ms. He desperately wants the candy but his Mom doesn't want her son to ruin his appetite for dinner, so she won't give in to his wailing. I am wailing to God, telling Him I don't want another struggle but He knows it will grow my faith and dependence on Him. So He won't relent, the struggle that leads to growth will continue.
God allows growing pains. They are a blessing He bestows on His children because He wants a more intimate relationship with them. Through the pain we, as His helpless kids, turn to Him and cry out to Him. When times are easy we tend not to come to His throne with such frequency and urgency. But God wants us at His feet consistently so He brings us there through trials, struggles and difficulties. He brings us to Himself through pain.
I must remind myself that when I am experiencing growing pains I am actually experiencing the showering of blessings from God. He wants a deeper relationship with me. He is pulling me towards Himself. He is embracing me.
Chances are I'll need much more reminding of this important truth. I am too quick to forget that God is showing me love in the midst of my hurt. So, I must re-write it, re-read it and re-claim in continually. Trials will continue to come. I will not escape struggles and difficulty. And I have God to thank because He wants to grow me. In all of these circumstances that look bleak and feel hopeless He is calling me to Himself so that I may have a closer walk with Him. Every bump in the road is a blessing from Him, drawing me to Him so that I might find refuge and rest for the journey.

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