Growing Pains

It seems to me that most people want the blessings of God without going through the pain that is associated with growth. I remember when I was a kid, around the age of 9 or so, when I grew so rapidly that I would wake up screaming in agony as my legs were cramping. Family members told me these were "growth pains" and that they'd pass, but they would surely come again. I have now idea about the scientific basis for this, but it came to mind today when talking with someone who was going through some stuff... and I told them that if they want t grow in the Lord, they are going to experience some pain in trials, and that these are temporary, but a needful part of our walk with Christ.  I told this person that there are two things that nobody wants to talk about, but they are needful in our walk with Christ.  One is tribulation, that works for you, and the other is grace that enables us to make it through the valley which we are walking through.

Romans 5:3 says: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience."
That same verse in the NIV reads: "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance."
Have you been praying for patience, or for God to help you to grow stronger in your walk of faith? If so, you'd better get ready for tribulation, for there's no other way to get it! Patience grows only in the soil of trial and adversity. The truth is, some of the people that you absolutely cannot stand right now are the very ones who God will use to bring about growth and maturity in you spiritually.

The Moabites were Israel's troublesome next-door neighbours who drove them crazy. But such people can also drive us closer to God! God said of them in Psalm 60:8 (NIV) "Moab is my washbasin." A washbasin is the place where you "wash out" all the crud and filth and junk that is in our garments... or in this case.. in us!  So here's a question for you... "who's your washbasin? Who brings out the worst in you? Who drives you to your knees? Who stretches your faith? Who develops your character?

The problem is, we pray for certain things to happen our way in our time... but God has a process, and it is only as we get to know Him better that we begin to recognize this process at work in our lives.
Here's how it works: you ask God for strength and He allows you to go through struggles that develop you.
You ask Him for wisdom and you get to deal with messy situations that have no easy solutions.
You ask Him for success and He gives you ability to work and wisdom to produce.
You ask Him for favor and you get responsibility. (Which most of the time, we then want to run from.)
There's a work going on in you right now! You may not be fully aware of it, but without it you'll never be equipped or qualified to handle what God has in mind.

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