Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
When I was in 7th grade, physical education was one of my required classes. I went to Morehead Junior High School, and Mrs. Corrigan was my P.E. teacher. Part of her P.E. class was a flexibility test. My physical body is NOT naturally flexible. When it came time for the flexibility test, one of my classmates easily bent over at her waist, keeping her legs straight, and placed her palms flat on the blacktop. She got an “A” on the test. When it was my turn, I bent over at my waist, keeping my legs straight, and couldn’t even touch my toes! I did not get an “A” on the test.
A few years ago, I decided that it would help me to start doing some stretching during my regular morning walks. At the top of my walking route, after three big hills, I stop for about 20 minutes and stretch. The stretching is still not easy for me. It’s actually painful, but I push through, forcing myself to count to 20 while holding each of my stretches. The stretching is difficult, but afterwards I feel really good! I feel loose and free. And, I can now touch the ground with my legs straight!
Stretching is also part of our spiritual life in Christ. We are not born again flexible. God has to stretch us. Just like physical stretching, God’s spiritual stretching is not easy, but it’s necessary AND it’s good for us.
This is what St. Paul has to say about spiritual stretching in Romans 5:
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
This is what St. James has to say about spiritual stretching in James 1:
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, may we all joyfully submit to God’s spiritual stretching in our lives. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, and so we can trust our God to bring amazing good to us through spiritual stretching!
Remember: The Lord will stretch our faith—it may be painful at the time, but we will feel really good afterwards! Say “Yes!” to the joy of stretching!
Peace and love in Christ,
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