Growing Pains
Fred London

It seems as one grows older, you come to find out which passions faded away because they were birthed out of our humanity, while what has remained, may be a confirmation that it was birthed within our spirits. I suppose you could liken it, in a way, to the process of “the wheat and the tares,” the impulsive and temporary versus the incubation of a God-given burden which eventually comes to fruition, and blossoms into a “fruit that remains.”

As occurred with Moses being brought to “ground zero” during his personal forty years in the wilderness, God has a way of stripping us of our youthful “illusions of grandeur.” It is no wonder Proverbs says, “A young man’s glory is in his strength, but for an old man it is his gray head.” For one is puffed up with knowledge, while the other is filled with the fruit of wisdom. There is simply no substitute for “on the job training!”

“The Children of Israel knew the Acts of God, but Moses knew His ways” (Psalm 103:7). Actually, drawing near to God is, in human terms, “risky business.” For in so doing, as noble as this sound admonition depicts itself to be, what most will not tell you is, that it will cost a man something. It will disfigure a man as it did, Jesus, cripple a man as it did, Jacob, cause others to look away from you as it did, Moses, inflict you with a “thorn in the flesh” as it did, Paul, or cause you to be as “as a dead man” as was the case with Isaiah, Daniel, and the Apostle John.

But, the gospel just doesn’t sell. On the contrary, it divides! It separates! It causes people to become uncomfortable! It is intolerant! It does not promote peace and unity! Jesus proclaimed, “I come not to bring peace, but a sword!” But, God through Hosea, also declares, “I have wounded, but I will also heal.” This is “the cost of discipleship,” and it is not cheap! On this line, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his classic work, The Cost of Discipleship, may have expressed it best when he wrote, “It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.”

The term, “growing pains,” is one, complete thought. Our humanity wants the growth without the pain, the glory without having to pay the price. But, when Jesus calls us to “deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, the notion of “following in His footsteps,” is suddenly no longer the exciting adventure we may have originally thought it to be. The perceived romanticism

is ripped right out of the heart of this thing. But, there is no other path which will lead us to where we might obtain “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” This is the high road, the narrow road, the road less traveled, all rolled into one. Is it any wonder that, “few there are who find it?”