Tuesday, May 10, 2011

God Stretches

You couldn't call me extraordinarily flexible by any definition of the word.  I don't know if I could even do the splits when I wasn't old and out of shape and, if we're talking personality, I make schedules in order to follow them, not just for my health (as some people who disregard them must imagine).  Andrew has schedule flexibility, but I watched him trying to touch his toes while doing Tae Kwon Do stretches in a workshop with the kids this past summer (um, it didn't happen).

So, I suppose it's only natural that God would look down and say, "Those two aren't particularly limber, let Me see what I can do about that."  And, thus enters the last year of our lives.  God has put us through His own set of stretches as He has exercised us in ministry, marriage, family, and relationships these last 12+ months.

We truly want to follow the Lord and so we voluntarily sign up for God's workout class, sit down to stretch, feel the uncomfortableness in our muscles and hesitate.  "Feel that?  See, we're really workin' it here, God!" 

He walks over and gently presses down on our back to make the stretch a little deeper.  "Whoa!  That's far enough, God!  That's a little more uncomfortable than I had expected!"  We start to get that little panicky feeling like our hamstrings(/hearts) are surely going to snap any second, but to our surprise they don't, and after the initial panic subside it starts to feel more comfortable. 

But it doesn't stop there. If you're really serious about getting in shape, the next time you stretch you will take a deep breath and stretch further than the last time.  Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "Wow, that was a good deep stretch for me, God.  Glad I'm done with that."  But, God doesn't ask us to put a limit on how far we will stretch outside of our comfort zones for Him.  He keeps pressing and it's up to us to commit to His requests or drop out of the class.

I've been thinking a lot about this recently and how the process of being stretched by God at first makes you feel your limitations.  It hurts, it feels impossible, and it makes you aware of how tiny and insignificant you really are.   But then as you give things over to the Lord and watch Him sustain and accomplish His work in your life it is incredibly empowering and liberating.  I know in my own power I can't do anything, but in God's power there is no limit to what He may accomplish through me.

I don't ever want to stay content with how far God has stretched me.  I want to (even when I don't want to)let God lead me further outside my comfort zone each day and give up my plans for my life and submit to His.  Each time God stretches me I pray that I take a deep breath and then ask God to stretch me again.  With each day that I am striving to do this I am, surprisingly, finding more and more peace as I face the uncertainties of life with a God who is able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. 

But, even though God is teaching me to be a more flexible person, don't ask me (or Andrew) to do the splits, it's just not gonna happen here on earth.


  1. Well, you could do the splits, but just once and then comes the hospitalization. I like the "He walks over and gently presses down on our back to make the stretch a little deeper. 'Whoa! That's far enough, God! That's a little more uncomfortable than I had expected!'" Oh how I relate. Without that stretching, we will pull up lame when we try to run the race He wants us to, but we are not ready for.
    Hang in there kid and keep stretching.

  2. For a very brief instant I thought the picture was of you, but then I noticed a couple of things missing and knew it wasn't you.