When God Stretches You…
Why does God sometimes take us through an uncomfortable period of stretching?
This week I have felt completely stretched – as though I would snap any minute! As you may know, the roles and responsibilities of a parent are quite something. When you add special needs to the mix…life becomes a little complicated! Well, this has been one of those complicated weeks, and as always, God has a lesson or two stashed in the middle of the tightness. Let me share a bit of what I learnt below.
Behind the stretching lies an important lesson from God
Why would God want to stretch you and me? Could it be that there is something to be learnt? Most of the time God uses these seasons to get our attention, because when we are about to snap, we cry out to him for help, and we are ready to hear what he has to say!
In my case, I believe the lesson is patience, perseverance, and trust, with trust being the most important. Over the years, whenever things become difficult, I dig deep inside myself for the strength to deal with the situation. Every time I use this method, however, the Lord watches from a distance until I reach the snapping point. ‘I can’t do this any more!’ I declare, and he answers, ‘so why did you insist on doing it your own way?’
God sees us get into the stretchy situation, lets us stretch all the way, and then jumps in to help. By the time things begin to ease off, God has our undivided attention, and the lesson, whatever it may be, is firmly implanted in our hearts.
God stretches us as a reminder to trust in him
Have you ever had the thought- I do not really need to seek God’s help in this situation. After all, the solution is right here in front of me!
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (NIV)
This verse emphasizes the point “lean not on your own understanding” for a reason. Many times, we do not see the bigger picture that lies beyond the present image, which is why we try to handle things our own way. God, however, sees the end from the beginning!
God’s mercy amazes me. Why, you ask? Because, rather than let us go off and continue doing things our own way, he puts a stretching season right in our paths – one that is impossible to avoid. After a push and pull season (long or short depending on how fast we get the message), he steps in and reminds us how much we need him. God mercifully draws us back to a place of complete trust in him.
Stretching makes us grow
When a little child buys a balloon in a store, he always imagines that when blown up, it will be the biggest balloon ever! The real size of the balloon, however, only becomes evident when it is blown to its maximum stretching point and is just about to burst. If the balloon is blown to only half its full size, it remains flabby and unable to float properly, but if it is blown up fully, it floats in the air with ease!
Are you comfortable being the flabby balloon that stays close to the ground, or would you rather float easily in the air? Would you rather be a loose rubber band that cannot hold anything in place or a taut rubber band that holds everything tightly?
James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (NIV)
God sends seasons of stretching into our lives to make us grow into the Christians that he wants us to be. You know how it goes – you are stretched, you learn something new, and you become a pro at it – then God sends another challenge your way. As Christians, growth is constant and essential, and the best way to grow is through a nice, stretchy challenge!
Friends, it is not comfortable to find yourself being pushed out of your comfort zone and thrown into a deep pool where you learn to swim on the job! God, however, in his wisdom, uses this method to teach us to trust in him, and to ‘force’ us to grow. God’s seasons of stretching us, though sometimes painful and unbearable, are always for our good. Embrace them when they come along.
Hi, everyone! Thank you again for reading through this week’s article. What do you think about being stretched by God? Let me know in the comments section, and don’t forget to share this article with a couple of friends. Have a fruitful week!