When I was a kid, I thought Stretch Armstrong was one of the coolest toys in existence. To my small arms, it seemed like he could be stretched as far as I wanted. His arms stretched. His legs stretched. His whole body stretched. You could even tie him in knots. It was like there was no limits to his ability to be stretched.
Obviously, as I grew up, I came to learn that Stretch Armstrong had his limits. People pushed him to his limits to see how far he could actually stretch. In fact, they stretched him till he snapped.
I suppose we all see ourselves like human versions of the toy… We think we can only be stretched so far, and then we will break. We feel like we have our limits. We try to roll with life’s punches. Stretch. We deal with hurts. Stretch some more. We watch those we love suffer for no apparently good reason. Stretch a little further. Financial challenges come along. Strrrrrreeeetttccchhh. And we begin to think to ourselves that we simply cannot be stretched anymore… that we don’t have it in us… that if one more pressure in life tugs at us, we will snap clean in two and all our stretchy insides will ooze out.
The Apostle Paul knew that feeling. He begged God to make the stretching stop, but God told him that he could be stretched further than he thought because it wasn’t about Paul’s ability to stretch… It was about God’s grace giving him the ability to stretch some more.
God’s grace is sufficient for us… so we can be stretched as far as His grace can. That means we are actually unlimited as to how far we can be stretched. Now, it may not always be comfortable. We may not like being stretched that far or in that direction. We may think we have reached our limits and are going to snap, but we can always be stretched even further… to our own amazement, and to that of those watching us.
If you’re going through a time of stretching right now… if you’ve been going through it for a while… if you wish that it would end… if you’ve even asked God to put an end to the stretching… and yet you continue to be stretched…
If your bank account balance is shrinking… if your health doesn’t seem to be improving… if your relationship with that person you care about continues to worsen… if your dreams aren’t coming true… if you’ve prayed about it more times than you can count and it still hasn’t changed…
You won’t snap. His grace is enough… all you need. His grace gives you some more stretchiness… and some more… and some more… and some more. Unending ability to stretch.
So, you can relax Stretch ___________ (fill in the blank with your last name), because God has put the right stuff inside you to stretch as far as you need to stretch!