Growing up a pastor’s kid, I sometimes think in sermon illustrations. My father often told stories during his sermons that tied in with the scripture that he was was preaching on. The other day as I was driving home from lunch at the dining hall, I had to stop and pull over because this picture, to me, was a perfect sermon illustration.

We are being surrounded by constant reminders of spring, the budding trees in pink and white blossoms, the return of green grass from yellowed weeds, the warmer air (with the occasional snow), all around us signs of life. That doesn’t always make the changes easy. We are sometimes reluctant to make a change even when it is good for us. Even when it is what God requires of us. Like a brown leaf clinging to the branch, unwilling to drop so new life can take it’s place.

Honestly, there is pain in new growth, and if you have not experienced pain, I’ll bet you haven’t experienced true growth.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

That’s right, the old is dead. The old self has not just gone away, not just dropped off, it died. And that can be painful, to let go of sinful habits, attitudes, or relationships, but there is so much reward in dying to self. Being saved to an eternity with God, being fully known and fully loved, having the divine comforter always, just to name a few of the ways God makes us new; but I’d much rather be a beautiful bud than an dried brown leaf anyway.

Growing hurts, sometimes, more often than not, suffering is the companion of growth. It can be shattering, life altering, and somber, but knowing the true goodness of God, and his love, will not be found is the ease of life, but in our willingness to let God grow us anew.