I injured my shoulder and thought it would heal on its own. After several months of protecting and babying it, I found I have lost some flexibility. So now I’m in physical therapy working hard to get my range of motion back. I almost wiggled off the table in pain when my therapist stretched my arm in a direction it didn’t want to go. It is so painful to be stretched in different ways to allow the flexibility to return.
While driving home from work, I thought of the various ways God has stretched me to be a more tolerant and loving person. If I had not experienced some of the struggles and adversities in my life, I would not have cried out to God for His infinite wisdom and guidance in those areas. These things would not be familiar and I would not be prepared to embrace others with similar struggles.
If I had somehow been able to live in a safe and protected little world, I would have little range of motion and little flexibility. If I love only the lovable, is that any big deal? (Matt:5:46 Msg) My reach would be short and it would be awkward and painful if I tried to use it beyond that.
“No pain, no gain,” is what they cheerfully say in physical therapy (ugh!). But, I realize God has allowed the sometimes painful stretching to make me more mobile, flexible and useful to Him.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor.1:3-4 NIV) Thank you, God, for stretching me.
Reflection: Are you being stretched? Can you see it as a good thing?