Grape Jelly

Concord-Grape-Jam

To this day I still avoid it.  For too many years grape jelly was associated with pain.

As a child, and even well into my teen years, I would often wake up with excruciating pain in my legs.  To this day, I am not sure what it really was, however, my mom would call them “growing pains.”  The agony always seemed to begin the same way.  Sometime in the middle of the night when we were all quite comfortable, I would wake up with what felt like fire in my legs.  I would either cry in my bed or crawl in the dark of the night to my parents room, begging for the pain to stop.

As a child I would call out to God – “Why?”  It didn’t seem right or in any way fair.  My mom, always a light sleeper, would wake up, pray, then start massaging my feet and legs until dad woke up – which he always did.  The routine would continue with dad assessing the situation.  Mom would reply, its just “growing pains.”

Dad would then prescribe aspirin.

Now this was a always a huge deal because he knew very well I couldn’t swallow a pill.  Yet, every night we would try again.  The night would end with gagging, some yelling, more sobbing, and eventually…grape jelly with crushed aspirin.  Those moments are still seared in my memory.  The taste of aspirin laced grape jelly still haunts my taste buds. And….

I also still hate those words: growing pains.

But today I will use them.  Maybe you didn’t experience the same adolescent routine, but I’m certain if you look back on life you have experienced growing pains.  In my rear view mirror, I see that every pile up, every fender bender, every hair-pin curve were moments that God used to grow me closer.
In fact, I’m convinced that growth always requires some sort of pain.
Now, it’s not at all true that God causes pain.  But He does use it.  Pain is one of God’s greatest tools to grow the character of a man or a woman.
Pain is never easy.  Many will prescribe quick fixes.  Some will bring soothing words, others may even get angry at you during your pain.  As unfair is it may seems, God will use it to grow you.
In fact if you are still breathing…remember He still has a mission for your life!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NIV)