There's a blessing in the stretching!
Today is dance recital day for our daughters, Kyla and Kaiah. I always get excited around this time of year because I can see everything they have been working so hard on.
I was thinking back to when our youngest daughter Kaiah first started ballet. She was working on perfecting her grand jeté for ballet class so that it would be nice and tight for her recital.
The grand jeté is essentially a high leap with one leg stretched forward and the other back, much like doing a “split” in the air. As you might imagine (or even know if you are familiar with ballet), it takes a lot of strength and control to do it effectively.
Great ballerinas almost appear to be gliding across the stage. To get to the place where moves appear graceful when performed, practice is needed—and lots of it. Before leaping, there are a series of stretches that help improve a ballerina’s flexibility.
So one evening, Kaiah was doing some of those stretches and I joined in as well.
Those stretches hurt badly!
The hip flexors, kicks and splits are not easy. But stretching increases the dancer’s capacity. As I was thinking about Kaiah being diligent with her stretches, despite how uncomfortable they are, I thought about how necessary this type of mindset is in our walk with God.
By that I mean, so many of us want to take a leap. We feel ready for life’s main stage, but we don’t enjoy the pain of being stretched in advance. Before we are ever able to flow and move gracefully within our purpose, we have to go through a period of conditioning and preparation.
Sometimes, we cry out to God because we feel like we’re stuck at ground level in some areas of life. We want to soar. In our minds, we’re ready to jump. But just as it is in the art of ballet dancing, in order to hold certain positions and do them well, advance strength training is critical.
You can’t stay en pointe (in ballet) on point (in life) if you’re weak. And the kind of discipline, fortitude, stamina and power you need is developed off stage, out of the spotlight, on the backside of the desert, in the valley, through the wilderness, in the storm, in the dark.
Stretching is the prerequisite to receiving the blessing.
Do you remember when God told Moses to stretch out his rod over the Red Sea in Exodus 14:26-27? Well, the children of Israel had an expansive body of water in front of them and Pharaoh and his army chasing them from behind. It didn't look good. It seemed that they were trapped.
But Moses obeyed God. He stretched out his rod and that’s when God stretched out His hand, and parted the Red Sea. Moses had to stretch first before God moved, right?
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.
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 as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;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.
To encourage you to trust Him, I’m stirring Psalm 9:10 NIV into your cup of inspiration, which says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, put your faith in the Lord. Know that He is faithful to deliver.
Expect Him to do the miraculous in your life.
Don't be afraid to stretch. There's a blessing in the stretching!
God, things aren’t easy for me right now. I don’t know what it is you’re doing, but I trust You enough to stretch my faith and rest in your promises. I believe You will come through for me. 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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