Once every few weeks, in the middle of the night, I hear the noise. It starts with a thud and a moan (this is the feet hitting the floor and the pain gaining a voice). This is followed by the increasing volume of little feet scrambling across carpet, then wood, then tile, to carpet again, only to arrive at the side of our bed to awaken and inform us, "My knees hurt!" Growing pains! Through the tears, Nathan let's us know (without reservation) that he hurts and he needs help and he needs it NOW! Can you remember those pains? I do.
Growing pains are pretty self-explanatory, right? Your muscles or joints - what's on your inside - seems to be growing, changing, expanding at a different rate than your outside. It's stretching! And in case you didn't know it, our bodies don't really get excited about stretching. (You ought to hear me getting out of bed these days!) While we hate these pains - especially seeing our kids agonize through them - we know they're necessary and inevitable. You ultimately WANT these pains. You WANT to grow! Right?
Do you see where I'm going with this? Did you figure me out? This is a pretty clear picture of us - the CHURCH. And specifically, this is a very accurate image of OUR church...right now! We are growing. And in many ways...it hurts! But it seems to be quite a bit more difficult to console and convince ourselves that "this is really a good thing" and that "I should joyfully welcome this tension". The reason this happens - most of the time - is because these growing pains in the church force US to do just that - GROW! We're forced to push out of our comfort and convenience, possibly give up "our seat" on Sundays, maybe even begin serving in an area where "I'm not really 'gifted' to do this". But for the sake of the Kingdom - for the sake of the Body of Christ - for the sake of our own spiritual growth - it's necessary.
Have you felt this pain? Are you feeling it now? Are you ready for it - prepared to welcome it joyfully?
More to come....