The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

My favorite time of year is swiftly approaching.  I love the fall.  I love the temperatures, the colors, the fresh air, the hiking -- everything except the cinnamon (which is already out heavily in some stores).  The other part I don't like is the transition process from summer to fall.  It wreaks serious havoc on my sinuses.  Hot, cold, hot cold.  Back and forth.  It's torture.  I welcome the cooler weather, but the back and forth is painful.  Even now, as I type this post, my nose is running, my eyes are burning, my throat is sore, and my lips are chapped.  And I know that I am not alone.  Tissue, anyone?

Wouldn't it be great if we could jump from one season to the next with no side effects?  It's summer, and then it's fall.  The temperature gradually cools, and no one is adversely affected by the change in weather.  Yea, that would be great, but you know what would be even more great?  Spiritual growth without the painful process.

You see, transitioning from an immature Christian to a mature Christian is a lot like the transition between seasons.  There are certain requirements that, while necessary, can be quite painful.  For instance, we want to learn to be more patient, but isn't patience a result of tribulation?  Who wants that?  We want a stronger faith, but isn't faith a result of trials?  We want the maturity, but frankly, we don't want the process required to attain that maturity.

Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way.  Growth, in any sense, is a process that requires both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant.  It's all part of the process, and unless we want to stop growing, we must learn to accept it for what it is and move on.

I long for fall enough that I'm willing to go through the transition time of sniffles and sneezes.  As I look at my spiritual life, I have to decide if I long for growth enough to accept the trials and tribulations that will help me get to where I need to be.  It's a tough decision, but the alternative is simply unacceptable.

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.- Romans 5:1-5