Before I came to Congo, I only talked about stretching in relation to our budget. Lately though, I feel a lot like the stretchy band I exercise with, like I am being pulled vigorously. Adding a new movement to an exercise routine causes discomfort at first, and my muscles protest at being used in a new way. If I persist though, eventually the soreness goes away and I become stronger and more flexible. God has lovingly allowed, or maneuvered, my circumstances to cause me to use my faith like a muscle, stretching and building it.
My teenage daughter asked me to lead her small group Bible study. I really wanted to do it. Fear raised its ugly head and reminded me I had little leadership experience with teen girls and that I would have to drive myself to this Bible study every week. Driving here is not at all like driving in the states. It’s complete chaos. Here was an opportunity to bless and mentor these girls, practically gift-wrapped and handed to me, if I just was willing to let God stretch me.
With our lease about to expire, God led us to a new house, but I was hesitant. It’s not in my old neighborhood, so I would have to do more driving if I wanted to see my friends. That dreaded “D word” again! Would I let God stretch me some more and use this house to bless us and others?
We found it necessary to stay in a friend’s house until we had a working bathroom in our new home. While perusing her bookshelves I found a book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss titled Choosing Gratitude. The Holy Spirit convicted me before I finished reading the introduction! A grateful heart focuses on God’s goodness and grace, worshipping and praising Him. An ungrateful heart is an open door for anxiety, doubt, discouragement, and fear. When God invites me to exercise my faith on a new adventure, I can shrink back in fear––sort of like putting my stretchy band in a drawer––or I can exercise my faith and say yes to the stretching.
The better choice is to remember with gratitude and confidence all He has done for me and trust Him. This next adventure might be the best one yet!
Faith, like muscle, is built by use. As I began practicing giving thanks for “every good and perfect gift” I found I had the courage to let God stretch me, knowing that even stretching is a gift.
Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20