Central Baptist Church of Westerly
16 Elm Street, Westerly, RI   02891
Phone: (401) 596-4929   

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Growing pains can be good
                                                              January 13, 2019
Dear Friends,

I skipped my workout this morning. I usually go to
the YMCA in Westerly four or five days a week. This
morning I woke up and I couldn't face the pain. If you
have ever exercised you know what I am talking about.
Whether you are walking on the treadmill, or the elliptical
trainer, or riding a bike, or doing some weight training,
it doesn't take long before your body begins to scream at
you to stop.

I go to the gym because I know, that despite the pain, I
am doing something that is good for me. The workout will
increase my strength and promote my overall health.  The
cardio vascular exercise, even if it is painful in the short
run, will help me live a much longer and happier life. It's
also good for my diabetes. In some way that I can't
comprehend it helps lower my A1C if I do it regularly.

As I was trying to assuage the guilt, it occurred to me that
much of our life is driven by two things: Pursuit of pleasure
and avoidance of pain. I would be in seventh heaven if I
could sit at home and eat hot fudge sundaes and lose
weight. If the new healthy patterns program said going
to the gym was not as helpful as getting twelve hours of
sleep a night, or better yet, riding a roller coaster at Six
Flags, I would sign up in a minute.

I'm told that pain is part of God's creative genius. It warns
us that something is happening. It make us aware of the
fact that change and growth are happening. My daughters
all went through growth spurts. Many nights my wife
would sit with them and rub their legs because of the pain
they were experiencing.  We were told this pain was
natural for children whose legs were growing and
stretching. It had to happen for them to mature.

So a few weeks back I was sitting with a few friends and
we began discussing politics. I don't have to tell you that
this is not a good idea these days. I began to squirm a bit.
Thankfully we didn't start hurling insults at each other but
I was feeling uncomfortable and wanted to leave. Then a
thought hit me. Was this any different from a trip to the
gym? Sometimes you have to experience a little pain so
you can grow a bit.

It's easy to surround yourselves with people who think
like you do. But is that  healthy? I've found that the pain
caused by engaging in discussions that are uncomfortable
can lead to growth. It allows us to relate to others who
come at life from a different perspective. Unfortunately
too many people engage other solely through Social
media. That doesn't help. What we really need to do is
to talk to one another face to face.

The Apostle Paul understood this. He never missed the
opportunity to engage the Greeks, the Jews, and even his
Christian brothers and sisters in conversation on the hot
topics of his day. It is important to be able to defend your
point of view but that is not the key to growth. Growth
comes from truly hearing what the other person has to
say and seeing them as God does.

Too often we look at people who disagree with us as
enemies. That is the easy way out. Jesus calls us do the
hard thing. He calls us to love our enemies and pray for
them. He knew that in loving them, we might even learn
from them and experience growth in our understanding
about the grace of God. So here's my advice. Don't avoid
the pain. Embrace it. Let God's grace grow in you, not
just at the gym, but in all areas of your life.

God bless. See You In Church.  
Cal.
Pastor Cal Lord's Weekly Epistle
Pastor Cal's Weekly
Epistle

Every week Pastor Cal
writes a weekly column for
the Spirit Page of the
Norwich Bulletin.

He also sends it out to
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