Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Do You Grow in Good Times?

It's an interesting comment: "I've seen people grow in both terrible times and good times."
One of my faithful and godly readers stated that.
I agree, and I disagree.
It all depends on how you look at "good times."

My last blog was about challenging times and how --through the power of the Holy Spirit -- they nudge us as believers to become more like Jesus.

As a human, I like my comfort and security.
There's very little that will make me change my status quo (physical, spiritual or emotional) unless it's absolutely necessary.
My brain has developed certain neural pathways according to how I habitually think and act.

When God calls me to make an adjustment in the way I think, speak, act, or react, it takes a powerful stimulus to alter that habit. Everything in me balks at change. It's simply more comfortable going down the same well-worn path each day.

I like to think about the Apostle Peter.
What did it take to take him from an impetuous, arrogant, prideful man. . .
to the humble, faithful, bold-for-Jesus disciple who died on a cross, upside down?

It was easy for him to state that he would die for Jesus.
It was natural for him, as well, to quickly deny Jesus three times when his own safety was threatened.
But how easy was it for him to repent, then obediently take on the shepherding of thousands of future disciples leading eventually to his agonizing martyrdom? (John 21: 15-19)

I've begun lifting weights again. I used to do this, and got really strong.
Then time, age, hormones --or the lack of them --took their toll.
So I'm trying to re-build  my pecs and abs and gluts and the rest.
But when you try to build up a muscle you must first stress that muscle.
You must make the muscle fibers tear down and rebuild into something bigger and more dense.
This process causes a little pain. But the result is a stronger muscle.

I think my reader who stated that one can grow in good times was possibly referring to times of refreshment or fellowship, or reflection. These are times that come after or during our inevitable daily faith-challenges.
I grow spiritually during those times because:
  •  I reflect on the goodness of God as He has dealt with me as a loving Father. (Though His parenting has not always been laughter, fun and cuddling.) 
  • I experience a pleasant blessing (contrasted with other times of less pleasant blessings),  
  • I spend wonderful times with other believers, (sharing good and hard times and encouraging one another)
  • I  worship God, giving Him praise and thanks. (But even then, scripture  refers to "a sacrifice of praise." It takes faith and obedience and love to praise God when incomprehensibly bad things happen.)

 I suspect that the growth you see during those "good times" happens because your "muscle" was recently stressed and challenged.
What rest, nutrition,  and sleep  does for a challenged muscle:  it repairs and rebuilds during that time --a time of refreshment and reflection does for the Christian.
So, does a Christian grow during good times?
Or is it simply that the fruit of some other day (one of challenge) is making itself apparent?
I guess it's all how you look at it.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing or your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4 NIV Bible)


1 comment: