There are times when God puts us under pressure; a lot of pressure. It is as if we are silly putty and God is the one doing the stretching, the bending, the pulling, and the pushing. He stretches us by putting us in situations that require love and patience, dependence and grace, hope and power – from Himself. Sometimes He stretches us by allowing us to be irritated at some individual. So many things in life stretch us. There is no possible way to “do justice” to the seemingly endless list of ways and means that He utilizes. But we must not become numb, or fearful, or hesitant to His stretching. The Word tells us, over and over again, that He is preparing us, molding us, shaping us for who He wants us to be and become.
Some people don’t want any part of that. They are “just fine” and “comfortable.” All is well and there is no reason to disrpt things. For the Christian – this is simply unacceptable. I am sorry if I broke through some thick ice there – in that statement, but it is the truth. Dr. Reichard, one of my seminary professors and a pastor himself told us one time that when we begin to take things personally it may be that we are called to something besides ministry. He reminded us: God is no respector of people, yet, He deeply loves us and is working out His will, moment by moment, because of that love.
Here is the question: If God is stretching us, what kind of figure is He trying to make? Is He just allowing us to get stretched out of shape so we will be some distorted Christian? There are many distorted Christians in our world today. These are Christians who actions and words do not appear to be Christian at all – but are masked and saturated in worldly things. In transparency, God is not trying to cause distortion in our lives. He is trying to get us to look like His Son. He is conforming us to the image of Christ, through the work of His Holy Spirit. When He stretches us, He is showing us areas of our life that are not like Christ. He is chiseling and chipping and twisting us to have the image of Christ in us.
There is an illustration that captures this. There was a sculptor who was famous for sculpting horses. One day a man came to him was amazed at the detail in his work. He asked the sculptor how he was able to take a block of granite and craft such an amazing piece. The sculptor said, “Oh, it’s easy. I look at the block of granite, and every thing that does not look like a horse, I knock it off.” That is exactly what God is doing when He stretches us. He is knocking off every thing that does not look like Jesus. Sometimes thats the “little” things. Other times it’s very “large” pieces, at one time. But we know He uses everything, and He is working it together for good to all who love Him, to all who are His. He is not trying to make us distorted – He is in the refining business. He is bringing us to a place in our life where we remind people of Jesus.
Is He stretching you today? He is stretching me.
In His love,
(Posted while here at UNC Cancer Clinic, where Eli is having 3 treatments today)