When Spiritual Growth Hurts


We had finished lunch, and my son slid down from his booster chair and took two steps from the table before he started howling in pain.

I noticed agony written across his face.

I carried him to the couch and cradled him in my arms for several minutes. He didn’t want to walk or put any weight on his left leg. As tears fell down his face he pointed to his left kneecap

The pain sent him back to the couch all afternoon. He tried to hobble away a few times, but he never made it far.

I didn’t worry about it too much. Somewhere along the way I had read about growing pains and knew a growth plate lived near the kneecap.

As we walked down the stairs the next morning, his hand in mine, I reassured him, “Those were probably just growing pains.”

And in that moment I heard the Lord whispering the same thing to me. These pains of the past few months have been growing pains.

My spiritual bones have stretched forth in all directions. And it hurts. It explains the bone-deep ache and soreness I’ve felt the last few months.

But pain often points to growth. It’s evidence that we’re moving forward. Growth shows us we’re living, and I’m trying to welcome life every chance I have, even when it’s mixed with pain.

Sometimes growth can only be appreciated in retrospect, when heads lean against door frames and pencil lines sketch the progress.

Parents know when a growth spurt threatens. They see the ramp up in hunger just like I noticed my son devour three pieces of egg casserole that morning.

If you’re in the middle of a season of growth and pain, increase your intake of the Word of God. You’re going to need it.

And take some time to relish the fact that God, “the author and finisher of your faith” (Heb. 12:3), is growing you.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns,” (Philippians 1:6).

6 thoughts on “When Spiritual Growth Hurts

  1. I love this post. This is so much what God had been teaching me lately. Pain isn’t there because He wants me to hurt, but to teach me and draw me closer to Him if I’ll allow it. :) Thanks for sharing your insight. Beautifully said!

  2. Great post! I love the comment about needing more spiritual food through God’s Word during a spiritual growth spurt. I tend to do the opposite. I draw in, thinking I need to figure out things on my own. Thanks for the reminder that those are times I need to get in deeper to His Word.

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