Yesterday, I finished two days of a conference with nine of my friends from North Hills. It was an excellent simulcast from some of the best leaders in the country! I think the key word for the experience is “stretching.”
Why that word? Most of time we think of stretching as something we do to work out our tired muscles. We do it in a leisurely, slow, methodical way going just far enough to work out the soreness. I think it means a whole lot more than this.
One of the speakers told us a story about a time someone asked his class to reach as high as they could. They were all reaching when the leader asked them if that was as high as they could reach. He reminded them that they could get up on their toes.
That is what it feels like to be stretched. You go as high or as far as you can go and then you go a little higher and a little farther. It is not exactly comfortable to be stretched. Back in the day, it was even a form of torture. People were put on the “rack” and had their bodies stretched till joints were popping and ligaments were aching. Not fun!
In one of my favorite talks, the speaker reminded us of a time when the Israelites were fighting a tough battle and were out of water. When asked what to do, the prophet Elisha told them to dig ditches. Digging ditches doesn’t sound like an answer to the lack of water. Unless you consider that only God can bring the rain.
Our job is simply to get ready for when the rain comes, no matter how long it takes. Wow! Powerful stuff! I went away more determined than ever to continue to dig ditches in Phoenix while I wait for God’s rain to come. Do you feel the stretching?
God is constantly trying to stretch us. We usually have limits as to how far we will go. We think that this is our maximum effort. And then God says there is a little more. We can take another step. We can make another move.
Here is the key: we have to believe that stretching, no matter how painful, is good for us. In fact, we decide that we will go after the stretching; we will actually seek it out!
So, what is God trying to say to you? Where is He taking you? Does it feel a little intimidating? If not, you aren’t dreaming big enough. You are settling and you aren’t growing to the max. Open your heart and get ready for a little stretching!