The beginning of the week, I went for a walk and completely missed this stretching post. I missed walking the next two days because I was feeling a little under the weather. But Thursday morning as I was pushing the stroller, this stretching post captured my eye. When I saw it, I couldn't believe that there was a cross on the side of the W&OD trail, but as I looked closer to the words I saw "stretching post" written across it. That is when the Lord began speaking to me. As I looked at the stretching post, to me it wasn't a place to do an exercise, but a reminder that every time I go to the cross...every time I seek to live like Jesus...there will be stretching in my life. When I go to the cross and He stretches me, I will go to uncomfortable...even hard places. But I know that I must go there. I must go to the cross to be stretched because I am not content with just walking through this life believing that I don't need to grow in my walk with Jesus. There are times when I am being stretched that I get scared because let's be honest...who likes digging around in those deep inner places of your heart. But then I am reminded that I don't need to be scared because the Spirit is there walking with me on this journey. He will give me the strength...He will encourage me...He will comfort me...He will not give me more than I can bear. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was discussing a chapter from the book "Moms In Prayer" by Fern Nichols with my discipler. (Even though this book seems like it may be just for moms, there is LOTS of information for the believer on how to pray. So, if you are single/married, male/female, have children/don't have children, this book is for you!) We spent a few minutes discussing this scripture:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28-29 ESV)
And in that moment all that my discipler and I had discussed about trials (or stretching) in our lives made sense. We must go through those trials (or stretching), so we can "be conformed to the image of His Son." So, the next time I am walking through a trail...being stretched in a way that seems to be unbearable, I will remember this stretching post. I will remember that I must go to those uncomfortable...even hard places...so that I may be conformed to the image of His Son. And when I am being conformed chances are I will see the goodness of what the Lord is doing in me.