Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Lesson in Growth

“The MRI showed no ligament or soft tissue damage,” Dr. Kana said. “That’s good news. But it did show a stress fracture where the upper and lower bones of the leg come together near his knee. It’s the kind of thing an MRI can pick up, but the x-ray did not.”

I slumped back in the vinyl covered chair, relieved to know that my 14-year-old son would not need surgery on his knee. The orthopedist had explained his snowboarding injury as a 6-8 week healing process. He said, “With these teenage athletes, like your son, no further therapy is needed. They heal so quickly that, as long as he avoids any painful activities on the track, he will be ready for his meets. Plus, the x-ray showed open growth plates, so he will heal in no time.” 

As we walked out of the orthopedic clinic, we talked about the good news of his knee. Then I added, “And do you understand what the doctor meant about your growth plates being open?”

David shook his head.

“That means that as long as they are open, you will continue to get taller.”

David straightened his posture and broke out in a grin.

Later in the evening, the subject of open growth plates came up again, and I commented, “Well, at least you can still grow. Because mine are closed, I can’t get any taller.”

David replied, “You can just go have them reopened!”

Growth plates in growing bodies seem like these obscure, unknown parts deep inside us. Yet, their role in our development has everything to do with how tall we will eventually be. The soul is not so different. We can’t see it, and no medical test can show it, but it is deep inside our hearts. And like those growth plates, the condition of the soul has a tremendous impact on the person we grow to become. 

It is true that growth plates are open for a season of life, and then they close for good. Despite David’s idea to “reopen” them, it cannot be done. On the other hand, the soul is always open. No matter how young or old we are, the soul can be changed. It can be filled with the Holy Spirit, through belief in Jesus Christ, and it can be awakened and made new.

Psalm 23:3a NIV reads, “He restores my soul.” When He changes the soul, it belongs to Him.

Psalm 42:1-2a (NIV) states, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” The change in the soul of the believer is eternal, and that is the moment it can no longer be “reopened” to the way it was before.

The body is filled with mysteries only God fully understands, and it is always a treasure of knowledge to discover the details of things like growth plates, especially through the eyes of a growing boy. However, the most incredible gift we have is our soul, because it is the deep place God inhabits. He does not open it for a season, only to close it later to leave us stuck with some kind of stunted growth. Once He dwells in our soul, we are free to grow into the radiant person He destined us to become.

Copyright © 2017 Courtney Johnson. Used by permission.

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