Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Strengthened and Stretched by Suffering

“Strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.”
(Hebrews 12:12, 13).

This summer is not going as planned. We had hopes of taking some trips as well attending various local events, but my major regression with back problems has changed all that. So far my summer has consisted of more pain and physical therapy than pleasure.

My physical therapy includes various strengthening exercises to build up the back muscles since surgery and medications are not options for me. I see some spiritual applications in this process. Just as I am strengthening my back muscles, God is using the difficulties and pain in my life to strengthen my faith and walk with Him. If I continually apply the truths of His Word, reminding myself that He is in total control, has a plan, and will bring me through any and every moment, my “muscles” of faith, peace, hope, and others will be strengthened.

My back muscles are also tight in places so I have stretching exercises to do as well. In the same way, God uses trials to stretch my faith. I can grasp too tightly to the things I think I need, including certain abilities or enjoyable experiences and opportunities. God is stretching me to release these things, reminding me of what is truly important.

I will have to do these back exercises for the rest of my life. I will constantly have to monitor them and adjust them to my changing conditions. I also need to do my spiritual exercises daily, being consistent at staying in God’s Word, praying, and abiding in Christ. I am hoping and praying that before too much longer I can take some trips we planned and enjoy the remainder of the summer. But whatever happens, I know that if I allow God to strengthen and stretch me, I will be in the best shape to face whatever lies ahead.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please use the pain and disappointments in my life to strengthen my walk with you. Thank you that as I am stretched and strengthened, I will not be spiritually disabled, but rather healed. Amen.