Growing Pains

I’ve been sharing quotes using the word “pain,” my Word of the Year for 2015. Here are a couple more from my notebook:

Superstition and idolatry form a tough crust over the topsoil of our hearts, making us unreceptive to the merciful words of salvation that God speaks to us.  Plowing is a metaphor for the repentance that prepares our hearts to receive those words.  Without the pain of the plow, the seeds God wants to sow in our lives might never take root.  In that sense, the process of plowing is every bit as necessary as the process of planting.  And every bit as merciful, although it never seems so at the time.  — Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1151

Growth calls into action new parts of our minds, our emotions, our bodies.  What we experience at these times often feels like pain.  We aren’t used to stretching ourselves in these ways.  But the pain shouldn’t surprise us–our muscles ache whenever we take up new activities, and they’re stretched in ways they aren’t used to.  Athletes get some muscles when they begin their training.  Similarly, as we’re in training in the Christian life, it stretches us beyond ourselves, and that hurts.  But this kind of pain is very different from the kind that’s inflicted by torture.  Growing pains are the kinds we don’t regret, because they lead to a fuller life, not a diminished one.  –Eugene H. Peterson, Conversations, pg. 1808


2 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. BrookeM says:

    Have you read Phillip Yancy’s “Where is God When it Hurts?” He deals extensively with pain…physical and emotional. He offers some fascinating insights into the causes and function of pain and gives some interesting peeks into how different people deal with pain. He frequently references another book, “The Gift of Pain,” (which I have not read) that might also be useful to you this year as you delve into this topic.

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