It was still dark, I was still sleepy. I was crouching over my bible and coffee when I heard his whimper. It changed from quiet moans to a muffled cry. “It hurts!, it hurts, Mommy!”.
My best guess: growing pains. I went up the stairs to where he was lying in the bed crying, pointing to his legs. I laid my hands on his aching bones. I prayed. He said it still hurt. So I held him.
Sitting there in the dark, holding my boy who is almost too big for me to hold, I remembered. I remembered being a girl in the night, pains shooting through my legs, crying for my mom to come. She would always come. I look back at that, now that I am a tired momma too, and marvel at her steadfast and faithful yes to us. Always she would come. In the wee hours she would comfort. Always at my side, rubbing the pain with love. And it didn’t always go away. But that what helped was that she was there. She was with me in my pain.
I was growing. She was growing. He is growing. And what I realize now, that I could not understand then, is that far too often, growth hurts. He sank into my shoulders and his breath started to become deep and rhythmic. He was ready to rest again. He leaned over towards his pillow, sinking into the white feathered warmth. I offered to stay and with eyes closed, he nodded.
Growth brings a bittersweet kind of pain, doesn’t’ it? We want to grow, but we don’t want it to hurt. And why is it that these pains usually come the strongest in the night-times? The times when it’s the darkest, and we are most vulnerable, most sensitive and most aware of the ache? The stillness of the night makes the sensation of the pain that echoes through our bones all the more tangible. There are no distractions to take our focus off the pain: all we feel is the ache.
But in the darkness and the stillness of the night, we have full access to a comforting embrace. A staying kind of love, even in the night when no one else hears our cry. An always and faithful ever-present yes, a never-leaving comfort.
“The LORD is near to those who have a broken-heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones, not one of them is broken…” Psalm 34:18-20
My earnest prayer is that a spirit of thanks would swallow my natural instincts. Because my natural response to pain is often bitterness and the big “why?” questions. Instead of asking what might be legitimate questions in the midst of pain, I want to respond with thanksgiving. Thankful, leaning hard into the arms of the One who brings the fullest type comfort, growth and life. Even in the pain, in times of uncertainty, in the midst of unexpected change or disappointment. He is there.
Rest in our pain is found between the comforting shoulders of Christ. Being found in Him, we find so much real, tangible comfort. Peace in the pain. Even in the shadow of the valley of death, we can fear nothing. Fear nothing and grow boldly, knowing, that He is with us.
Declaring in the dark night of pain that growth will be evident in the morning.
Thank Him, in the now. Thank Him for unexpected growing pains. In the day, in the night, in the peace, in the pain, in it all; abounding in thanksgiving. He is our Hope and Hope does not disappoint. He is bringing us into a fuller fullness than we could imagine; than we could experience before such “growth” had happened.
Christ’s passion is to establish us in faith. That we would be built on the Rock- not the shifting sands of circumstance. That we would abound with grace and thankfulness. Not because of what we feel, but because we are rooted and built up in Him. Because He is near to all who call upon Him.
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him; rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:7