What does it feel like when God is stretching you? It is not always pleasant. It can even be scary. It means placing control fully in God’s hands, not knowing the outcome. The question I periodically find myself asking is, “Am I willing to be stretched, if it means I’ll become more like the person God sees, when He looks at me?” It has been one of the greatest and also hardest questions, for me to ask, let alone answer, within my walk with God.
A close friend of mine once told me, in the midst of being stretched by God, “God has really been dealing with my past, changing my past hurts to good! I was praying last night that God would show me who I am because I don’t know myself most of the time anymore. His reply was ‘you are my child’. Simple, yet profound!” Profound, indeed.
To reach that place where we allow ourselves to be stretched by God can definitely be difficult, but oh so good, when we get to the point of realizing the purpose of it all. This makes me think of Ruth, in the Old Testament (Ruth, chapter 1). There was a point in her life where she had to make a choice. Either she was going to stay where she was, a place she knew, or follow her mother-in-law Naomi, to an unknown place, with unknown people, to follow her and an unknown God. God stretched her, and the result? She was given more than she could have ever dreamed possible, even becoming the great grandmother of King David.
How about Esther, also of the Old Testament? Talk about being stretched. She was orphaned, left to be raised by an uncle. Then, she gets chosen to become part of a group for the king to consider as a potential wife. So much of her life seemed out of her control. Yet, she allowed God to use her, to stretch her, and stretch her, He did! This time of stretching put Esther in a place where she got to save her entire people from annihilation. How? She stretched beyond herself, and into the God’s purpose for her life. What a hero she is to me!
I have had those stretching moments in my life, and like my friend, I became in many ways someone who I wouldn’t have recognized at the start of the stretching experience. I look back and can see a person who was shy, introverted, suffered from panic attacks and had low self-esteem. Yet, God stretched me, slowly molding me into who He always knew I could be. Though it wasn’t always easy, it has been so worth it.
Now, I look at myself and see a person who can confidently speak to others, who can walk with a confidence that can only come from God, into whatever He places before me. I know I have many, many more times of stretching ahead of me. I know that some may be more pleasant than others, but if God can do all He’s done in me, in less than four decades, bring it on! Lord, do what you will.
In the end, I simply want to look into the eyes of my Lord, and hear Him say to me, “You are my child, the one I’ve always known, the one who allowed me to stretch you, who trusted your heart and life to me. Well done, my faithful servant!”
I dare you to say, “Lord, stretch me into who you want me to be.” Be ready for an amazing ride! I can assure you that the destination will be breathtaking.
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