“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Welcome to Multnomah University! You’re going to be stretched during your time here,” Dr. Lockwood challenged our students at this year’s spring convocation chapel.
Sharing personal stories from his own life, as well as biblical examples from Phillip’s stretching ministry experiences in Acts 8; he encouraged our students, faculty and staff alike to view difficult situations in life as opportunities for growth.
Benefits of Stretching
I’m no sports medicine specialist, but I do know enough to realize that there are benefits that come with stretching: improved muscle strength, increased mobility, greater flexibility, etc. In seasons of being stretched it’s not always easy to see the benefits through the pain. Yet, similar to muscle strength development and endurance, it is as we allow this process to shape us that we truly appreciate the outcome.
Professor Holley Clough, Degree Completion Program Director, opened our convocation chapel with her own stretching experience as she told the story of how the Lord used her time in El Salvador to shape her. Referencing the familiar Hawaiian Airlines tagline—“Shouldn’t the journey be worthy of the destination,” she encouraged our students to keep their goal in mind as they face the ups and downs of faith’s journey.
By faith we rest all that we are on Him, no matter what comes our way, because we know that He is in control and desires what is best for our lives.
Have You Ever Felt Yourself Being Stretched?
Even in the midst of great things there can be opportunity for being stretched. The certainty of life change that accompanies the gift of a new relationship, the sacrifice of time that comes with the blessing of new life and being first time parents, the stress of new responsibilities with the gift of a job offer or that long awaited promotion, etc. Being stretched is a part of life and whether you are being stretched by positive or difficult circumstances, Christ’s objective for us is the same: to prepare and equip us for showcasing His glory. God’s purposes are greater than our own. His goal is to draw our hearts to places of deep dependence on Him as He shapes us to look more like His Son.
In the midst of seasons, when you are responding in obedience to God’s call, surrendering your will to His and aiming to love like Jesus; yet still your situation does not improve—these are stretching experiences. God encourages us through the prophet Isaiah: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
My prayer for us today is that as we face these stretching seasons, we would be reminded of these truths found in Isaiah. As we walk forward in obedience and courage, may we experience more deeply, and more fully, the faithfulness of God. In these moments may we find comfort in knowing that there is a greater good being accomplished.
What challenging circumstance are you facing today? In what ways are you being stretched?
My hope is that you would find reassurance in knowing that you are being stretched by someone who sees your potential, someone who has in mind a greater purpose. He is making you stronger, and causing your faith to increase as He prepares you for Kingdom work. The result of stretching experiences is often that we grow in courage, faith and dependence. May we determine to allow God to stretch us and shape us as we trust His hand within our lives.
Being stretched for His glory,
Michelle M. Peel, BA '00, MA '10
Director of Alumni Relations
Multnomah Bible College • Multnomah Biblical Seminary • Multnomah Graduate School