by Adam Howard
Content Coordinator, CBN Europe
There are times in our lives that feel like we are being stretched. Pulled in various directions and out of our comfortable places. In itself, stretch isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is often in these seasons that we grow and prepare for what is ahead. The thing is, we must be able to differentiate between stretch and strain.
I really believe that as learn to navigate the stretch well, the profits of our endeavours and discomfort will be ours to reap. As I thought about this concept, I was reminded of the scripture in Isaiah 54. It comes to us in a time of change, as we stand on the brink of something new and it comes with some clear instructions.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” – Isaiah 54:2-3 (NIV)
We need the wisdom and the accountability to know the difference between stretch and strain
Navigating the Stretch
As I said earlier, we must endeavour to understand the difference between stretch and strain. One is good and the other is detrimental to many areas of our lives. As we navigate the seasons, we need the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom to know the things to carry and the things to set down. To recognise that which is uncomfortable because it is a challenge and those things that are uncomfortable because it is mis-shaping us.
We need the wisdom and the accountability to know the difference between the two. Stepping into a new season of stretch enlarges our perspectives and experiences. Although it is hard at times, the win at the end is a greater capacity, born out of greater willingness to inconvenience ourselves. There is weight and responsibility attached, but it is carried well.
However, we need to be aware of the differences between stretch and strain. Strain happens when you have not stretched affectively first. It happens when you carry something that is too heavy or something that you weren’t designed to carry in the first place. Carry the weight designed for you to carry. You can carry someone elses’ weight…for a while, but you will inevitably end up compensating and deformed. A tent can hold under strain for a time, but eventually the cords will not be able to hold and they will snap, bringing it down to the ground. The knock-on effect being not just a personal one, but for all who finds shelter and shade within the tent.
It’s as a body we go forward; with each member doing it’s part. As we step forward together, in unity, we command a blessing. A united stretch, as promised in this passage brings, brings greater capacity, influence and it takes ground for the kingdom.