Time to Do a Little Faith Stretching
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
I knew the work would be tough, the weather would be hot and the floor I'd sleep on would be hard. But little did I know none of those inconveniences would be the "stretching" part.
Several years ago, I participated in a mission trip to renovate homes of families in need. God planned to stretch me beyond what was comfortable that week, but as it turned out, it wasn't the work or inconveniences that stretched me.
I wasn't stretched as I climbed up a 10-foot ladder to hand someone a heavy can of paint. Or as I sprawled across a noisy air mattress every night — hoping it wouldn't completely deflate before morning. I wasn't stretched as I endured 105-degree temperatures, wearing the required attire of full-length jeans that stuck to my sweaty legs like glue.
I wasn't even stretched taking showers in close proximity to total strangers, separated by only a thin curtain, or when I shared that awkward shower with a large, dead, winged creature lying in the drain.
None of these things were enjoyable, but they weren't really outside of my "comfort zone." Yet when it came time to walk through a local neighborhood, knock on doors and share the Gospel, with the looming fear a door might be slammed in my face (or worse), I felt my faith being stretched.
Looking back now, I realize God was gently pushing me out of my comfort zone into a faith zone. He confronted me with the choice to stretch my faith or play it safe.
It would have been easy to send my work crew down the street without me. I could have stood in the shadows of the big oak trees as others on the team approached the strangers. But God had planted a burning conviction in my heart to trust Him and do some serious stretching. So standing alone on the sidewalk wasn't an option.
I had no idea that by stepping out in faith, I would receive the greatest blessing.
There are countless stories in the Bible of God calling people out of their comfort zones. And with each one, the stretching brought blessings they'd never imagined.
Abraham trusted God for the child he was promised, despite his and his wife's advanced age. His faith-stretching ended with a little baby in his arms named Isaac.
Jesus' disciples feared for their lives when a violent storm threatened to sink their boat. But Peter's faith to step out of the boat at Jesus' invitation resulted in Peter's human feet miraculously walking on water.
Jesus told a crippled man, with muscles weak and atrophied, to get up and walk. The man stretched his faith as he stretched out his legs and walked for the very first time.
And on it goes. A blind man who had faith to believe Jesus could heal, saw Jesus' face with those very eyes. Joshua might have felt ridiculous circling the walls of Jericho seven times, but eventually the walls came crumbling down. Joseph spent more than 10 years in a dark dungeon, but it was his unwavering faith which eventually landed him on the throne.
God calls us all to do some faith stretching now and then. Whether we are called to leave our comfort zones to obey and act, or to rest and trust God during a difficult season of life, He always rewards great faith with wonderful blessings, just as today's key verse promises.
Maybe stepping outside of your comfort zone to obey God seems like too much of a stretch right now. Keep in mind that although it may seem impossible, God will never stretch us beyond what we are capable of in His strength — not ours. And when we are willing to be stretched, blessings begin to flow.
Lord, help me fully trust You with my life and develop a faith that is willing to stretch for Your sake, and mine. Show me how You can use my life for Your good. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 4:13, "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (NLT)
Psalm 138:3, "In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul." (NKJV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In what ways has God been calling you to leave your comfort zone?
What is one thing you could do today to stretch your faith muscles?