Thursday, November 15, 2012
Stretch...like a rubberband!
"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthenyour stakes." -- Isaiah 54:2
This morning, as we continue to talk about stretching, I keep picturing a rubber band. A rubber band is only good for something when it is being stretched. Laying in a drawer, or on a countertop, not being stretched, it is not living up to it's potential...it is just a circular piece of rubber.
My Bible study lesson this morning began by talking about times when we feel "stuck." Times when we KNOW where we want to go, what progress we want to make, what goals we have in front of us, but we just can't seem to get there. We are STUCK in a place we really don't want to stay. We are like that rubber band laying on the counter...we are not very productive.
God wants to heal us and "unstick" us when we feel that way, but we have to be active participants in the process. Read Matthew 12:9-14. A man with a shriveled hand is in the synagogue. After a discussion with the Pharisees about whether is was lawful to heal someone on the sabbath, Jesus tells the man to stretch out his hand. He follows Jesus instruction, and as he stretches out his hand, it is as good as new! That man probably didn't start out the day thinking his hand was going to be made new...I'm sure he was rather "stuck" in his life, not being able to do as much as he would like with a shriveled hand. As he listened to the conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, he must have developed a faith in Jesus because he trusted him enough to do as he instructed and that faith allowed Jesus to heal him. What if we trusted Jesus enough to really follow his instructions...to live our lives in the ways he taught? Would we too be healed of our weaknesses enough to get us "unstuck?"
Or...what about the rubber band that has been stretched too far? We have probably all had the experience of a rubber band breaking as we were trying to use it and it snaps our hand and goes flying across the room. It has gone far beyond it's potential, and now is not useful for binding things together...or is it? In the right hands, a broken rubber band can be tied together again, making it strong enough to hold things together again. Or, perhaps, instead of being used to bind things together, it could be used in a different way...to allow something to stretch a little farther than it normally would.
I sometimes think of myself as a rubber band in that almost-ready-to-snap mode. I do have faith in Jesus, and have been "unstuck" by that faith many times. I stretch out my hand and accept the healing he offers. I then go out and find ways to stretch my faith over and over again...I take on more responsibility, help others, get busy doing good things...until I feel like I am going to snap!
But, I need to remember those times Jesus healed me when I was stuck. In his right hands, my broken rubber band self can be tied back together, making me strong again, and allowing me to live up to the potential he gave me!
So, look at yourself today. Are you a rubber band laying on the counter doing nothing productive? Are you stuck? Or, are you a rubber band stretched to the limits? Or are you a broken rubber band ready to be thrown in the trash because you are no longer useful? Follow Jesus' instructions! Stretch out your hand! Accept the healing he freely gives and become ready to live up to your full potential!
You can become "The Rubber Band Man!" Here's an oldie but a goodie to make you smile today!