God is a grower. The shepherd who raises us. The vinedresser who tends us. The Heavenly parent who guides us. As I watched dozens of dragonflies flit around the riverbank, God whispered this encouragement for someone that is a fresh lens of hope to trade for the confusion or frustration at a lack of growth in some part of their life right now.
Some have received a word from the Lord about growth. Something the Lord is going to grow in them or through them. Naturally, we think of growth as the growth of a plant. There’s the initial breakthrough out of the seed and then a consistent and visible increase in size and ground taken. Throughout the growing process, the growth is easy to see because it always looks like a plant…just bigger. The difference in size over time becomes an obvious indicator of growth.
But the Lord reminded me there’s another kind of growth. Dragonflies- among many other creatures- have a growth that comes in stages. There’s an egg form, a water-bound insect-looking nymph form, and a full-grown, flying dragonfly form that spends time on land, in the air, and near the water.
Growth in stages is harder to spot. It can seem like not much is happening because we are looking for an increase in the same form (like the growth of a plant)… and we’re not seeing it. Instead, growth in stages may not mean a change in size, but a change in form altogether. Said another way, God may not be multiplying the old thing like you expected, because He’s planning something entirely different-looking. And that new form (just like the dragonfly’s stages) holds new functions, new abilities, and new territories.
If you’ve received a word about growth from the Lord, know this: Any growing God does is going to be good, because He is incapable of less than good and perfect. That growth may look like expansion and increase - the “bigger” or “more”. That growth may also look like a completely different phase that holds new abilities and adventures. But when we constantly look for growth to come in the same package that it has in the past, we can become frustrated and miss the growth God is actually doing.
Looking at a dragonfly nymph, with its teeny tiny wing buds, beetle-like body, and fully aquatic lifestyle, you’d never expect that its next phase would be a dragonfly. Release the “look” of your growth to the author who also created the dragonfly. Encounter the Lord about it in prayer. Not with the goal of understanding the plan for growth (we rarely can in all of its divine complexities), but with a heart hungry for an awareness of seeing Him moving in our circumstances. The place of our frustration may very well become our place of deepest praise and gratitude when viewed through His lens of growth.
1. What are you growing in and through me that I haven’t noticed?
2. What are ways my expectations of what You’re going to do next have boxed in my view of the growth You’re doing now?
3. What can I do to be in a posture of thankfulness and readiness for the growth you’re doing in me now?