Carolyn Forche, American writer and poet, wrote, “Spiritual growth is achieved with passion, difficulty, and intensity as much as it is achieved by peace, silence, and love.”
I completely agree with this evaluation of spiritual growth. It is filled with growing pains just like physical growth. To assume that a disciple of Jesus does not go through difficulty and intensity is simply to not have carefully read the gospels. Whether we consider the life of the apostles Peter, James, John or Matthew, or the others… there is difficulty and intensity in the stories of their growth.
Leaving the biblical context and entering our own, we find many experiences other than peace, silence and love. The days of doubt, fear, denial, anger and frustration are as many as the quiet and peaceful days in spiritual development. It is the days we have no interest in growing, no hope of change and no desire for difference that causes our suffering and despair. In the end, we must decide that the growth is more important than the pain.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Jesus