Question to consider: What problem in my life has caused the greatest growth in me?
“I feel completely stumped at this moment, and I only hope that doesn’t mean I will have to have more problems very soon to bring about some growth.
“I can think of a number of trials and temptations and a trouble or two, but I can’t think of any growth particularly connected with any of them.
“Maybe like when physically growing the one growing doesn’t notice as much as those around them (I can only hope).
“If I had to pick, I guess having Daniel and dealing with his emotions and behaviors has grown my patience a lot.”
Dearest Rachel –
Of course, this was so long ago; it’s not like we got into any trouble thereafter that I can think of. Daniel was almost eleven at this point, and we were well into trying to understand his situation, and how best to work with his Asperger’s (a term that has since fallen out of use, but which was the operative term at the time). Life at work, even, was fairly stable, and the threat of consolidation and merger was still so far from anyone’s mind as to cause the tension that would ultimately drive me away from the place. In short, your assertion that there were few trials we were dealing with then or in the near future thereafter that would have spurred us toward spiritual growth.
In fact, I’ve made that observation over the past year that we’ve had times that were so smooth that I would wonder whether God didn’t think we were capable of handling that level of adversity, and whether we should take it as an insult. These are the sort of conclusions that generally lead to something going wrong, like asking ‘what could possibly go wrong?’ in a given situation; In any literary situation, that was the sort of thing that would guarantee something to go haywire very soon.
I wish I could go back and ask you about things from that time; I know when certain turning points occurred for me, but they might not have coincided with times of adversity you had to deal with. Naturally, you stood beside me in my times of need, but I don’t remember if there were any situations that you had to deal with, and whether I was able to be there for you or not. And now, I’ll never be able to know.
Your assessment of growth being imperceptible to the one doing the growing is probably not far off the mark; some trials just might not seem like such to those going through them if they’re constantly there. Some situations may be simply interpreted as being ‘the way life is,’ without any realization that such situations aren’t normal for everyone. Still, I hear various testimonies from members of our church of people who have gone through incredible difficulties as part of their spiritual journey, and I know nothing of those sorts of adversities personally. It’s probably one of the advantages of being the older brother of the prodigal; my story isn’t spectacular, nor are my trials, but I know the inheritance is mine. I just need to make sure I’m not jealous of the prodigal who returns to great fanfare. We will have an infinite amount of time to enjoy the Father’s house together.