There is a blessing in stretching
One day, a few years ago, after finishing my strength training, I held out my left palm, and I said to my husband Kenya, “Look at my hand.”
“Wow, it’s trembling,” he said.
I tried to steady it, but couldn’t. After breaking my left wrist in 2011 and having surgery to repair it, my left hand and arm were greatly weakened. I had damaged the nerves and tendons pretty badly. For a while there, I couldn’t move my arm or hand at all.
For quite some time, even after considerable progress was made, the difficulty level of moving my fingers and grasping things made me want to give up. The pain and swelling from exercising had me thinking I was doing more harm than good. But my body’s response was normal. I had to retrain my hand and arm to work properly.
In the initial days of getting back into the swing of things, every time I did a workout, things seemed to get worse. Still, I kept at it. And gradually, my limbs got stronger. On my hardest days, I just kept on telling myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Speaking the word of God back to myself always helped me stretch beyond what I thought were my limitations.
I won’t lie and say it was easy, especially when a three-pound weight felt like an enormously heavy object. But thanks be to God, those days are behind me. While the tendons are still tight and straightening about three of my fingers continues to be a challenge, overall, I can’t complain. By trusting God for strength and pushing myself, I’ve seen incredible results. I learned early on that there can be no progress without my own willingness to stretch.
Earlier today, I was reading a Bible story I’ve shared with you before about when Jesus healed the man with the withered hand in Mark 3:1-6. Christ simply told the afflicted man, “Stretch out your hand.” In verse 5, the Bible says, “He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.”
Even after Jesus spoke, his hand was still shriveled up. There was no visible change until he stretched it out.
In Hebrew, that word “withered” is xéros, which means dry. It is the same word for dry land. In this context, however, it denotes one of the members of the body being deprived of its natural juices, leaving it shrunken, wasted and withered. For so long, there was no blood flowing to this man’s hand. It was dry and deprived of what it needed to thrive. But when he stretched out that hand in faith at the Lord's command, restoration took the place of deprivation.
Friend, wherever your “xéros,” or dry place may be, God will restore it. No matter how long you have been deprived of what you need, change is coming your way.
God is calling you to stretch! Do you remember when, in Genesis 22:10, after God commanded Abraham to offer up his only son Isaac as a sacrifice?
The Bible says Abraham stretched out his hand to slay Isaac. As agonizing as this must have been, Abraham still stretched out his hand and his faith. At that moment, the angel of the Lord called out to Abraham from heaven and revealed that there was a ram caught in the thicket that would be used for the sacrifice instead.
So Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh, which means, The Lord Will Provide. Not only did God provide, but in verses 17-18, He pronounced a blessing over Abraham's life.
The Lord told him, "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed …and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice."
Listen, the same God who provided for Abraham and blessed Him, is alive and at work in your life today. God is still Jehovah-jireh. He still provides. He still makes ways. He still heals. He still restores. He still sets free.
If you want to see Him work, stretch your faith. Stretch beyond limited thinking. Stretch beyond fear. Stretch beyond worry. Stretch beyond the walls those negative voices have erected in your mind.
How do you stretch?
You simply put your confidence in the Lord. When you do that, in His way and His timing, He’ll come through for you. There is a blessing in stretching—especially when your arms are stretched and extended to God, who is your help in trouble.
To remind you to seek Him for guidance and assistance in all things, I’m stirring Psalm 143:6 ESV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, stretch your hands to God, and stretch your faith, knowing that He is faithful to deliver. Expect Him to do the miraculous in your life. He will come through for you.
I know this to be true. I have seen Him work in my own life.
Now let’s pray.
God, today, I’m taking the limits off You. I’m stretching my faith. I’m believing You for greater things in my life. No longer will I allow doubt, fear and worry to control me, but I will put my trust in You—the One who never fails! Thank You in advance for all the ways You will move in my life according to Your perfect will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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