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The Stretching

Recently, I took my daughter to her aerial gymnastics class. She was working with a new instructor... one that was far more strict... one that insisted on working on the fundamentals. He wanted to make sure that his students had fully mastered the ability to do the most basic of things before moving forward with the class.

You could tell that most of the girls were relatively annoyed with their new teacher's philosophy, but the most dissatisfied student definitely seemed to be my daughter, Lucy. Several times, she broke off from the class to come over to me and express her distaste for her life's new tyrant. She complained about how simple everything was, how many times she had to do each exercise, and how she could do these things on her first day. But most of all, she complained about all of the stretching.

She was always very naturally gifted when it came to the aerial arts. She could often do complex maneuvers very quickly, but her body was not responding well to the painful, new stretches that her new teacher was throwing at her. She complained of aches and pains, told me her body could NOT do these things, pretended to have to go to the bathroom many times to get a break. She even told me that she decided she wanted to go home early.

She didn't tell me this, but it was easy to see that she felt like she had met her match. She felt like she had finally hit an impenetrable wall that would forever hinder any future progress... that she had hit her peak.

As I took each small moment to deal with her concerns and complaints, the Lord kept speaking to me on the importance of the stretching. Lucy didn't know this, but her teacher was conditioning her for something far greater than what she was capable of. He was giving her the tools she needed to move forward in her training.

What felt like the wall that was the end of the road for her was actually the very first step in a time of preparation for a giant leap forward. This all made me think a lot about how often we see our difficult circumstances as that same kind of impenetrable wall that will forever hinder progress. Or even worse, we can far too quickly view them as God's sign that we are not where we should be.

But what if you are exactly where you are supposed to be? What if the struggles and trials in your life, your job, your family, or your ministry, are not actually always the works of the devil? What if they are a beautifully designed series of stretches that are part of a plan to prepare you for your next giant leap forward?

And what if you quit right before that leap?

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