Our youngest, Caleb, has been having horrible growing pains. He has been waking up crying with aching legs. I keep telling him, getting big is hard work. On a whim, I measured him on the family wall. You know the wall, the one where your childhood growth is charted in loving pencil marks and smudges. Most families have them; we even have a mark for our dog on ours. Anyway, when I made his pencil mark, we saw that this little man had grown about a ¼ of an inch in a little over a week. He was so excited!
And then, that same night, he went to bed in tears all over again at the pain. Growth is a process. It’s a repetition of pain and stretching and victory. There is no growth without pain. In fact, the pain adds value to the growth.
Our spiritual growth isn't any different. It's a process of pain, stretching, growth and victory. I often forget that the pain adds value to the growth, and I almost always forget to chart it, to see how far I've come. That adds value to the pain as well.
I spend more time lamenting my failures than celebrating successes, but God doesn’t. In fact, Psalm 103:12 says He removes our sins as far as sunrise is from sunset. If He has moved on, I need to. I need this truth to sink into my heart. I need to picture God rejoicing over me.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17
We have to remember that God is on our midst; He doesn’t miss a thing. He really does rejoice over all our victories with gladness. In our pain, He quiets us with His love, and He exults over us. That word means He feels and shows triumphant elation. He sees our growth as triumph; we’re winning. Our growth is victory for us and the kingdom. That helps put the pain in perspective.
As adults we have stopped charting our growth, and we’ve missed a lot of celebration. We tend to skip right over the little things, and we push through the pain without letting it bring the growth perspective, and without celebrating our progress.
Look back today and gain a little perspective in your progress, and then do a little dance to rejoice in the victory. God does.