The stretch zone. A place we so often find ourselves. Stretched to the max and yet called to stretch some more. In Part One we looked at a story in 1 Kings about a widow who had nothing left to give and was asked of God to keep on giving. Her act of giving despite her limitations saw a miracle in her life she never expected. God supernaturally supplied her every need.
Today we will look at the second woman who found herself not just in the stretch zone but inviting the stretch in. We find our story in 2 Kings 4.
One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat. She said to her husband, “I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let’s build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.” One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’” “No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.” Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!” “No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said. 2 Kings 4: 8-17
What strikes me about this women is that she went after the stretch. She invited it into her world. She knew that she needed to make some room for God to move. She knew that the man of God, would bring something of God into her life so she literally made a room for him – she stretched to allow God room to do whatever He needed to do.
What did this woman know that we need to know today?
There is enlargement in the stretch.
“Don’t get comfortable in the space you are in, the space you are in does not have enough room to do what God wants to do”. Christine Caine
Sometimes we are believing for God to do something in our lives. We want Him to bring breakthrough. We want to see miracles. We want Him to change us and be active in our lives. Yet we haven’t got space for Him to come and if He were to come we wouldn’t have space for Him to bring the growth He has for us.
You see, whenever God is present and working and moving He will bring change and growth to us. Not only does the stretch make room for Him to come and bring the supply but it is also about making room for the growth that it will bring.
We need to make some room, we need to grow something on the inside of us, enlarge ourselves, so that there is room for God to bring the miracle, breakthrough and growth that He has for each one of us.
This woman made room for God and she made room for growth.
God can’t bring growth to your gifting and talent, when your character is too small to house it.
God can’t bring growth to character when the vessel is too small to contain it.
It is in the stretch zone that God is building in you the capacity to hold all that He has for you.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
It is in the stretch that we are tested. Through the testing we build the character that is needed for the growth that God wants to bring to you.
I said this in the first post:
The stretch zone will build character in you that the comfort zone never could.
I can tell you now that if we had been asked to lead our church 8 years ago we would not have been able to do it. We would not have had the experience, the character building, the growth, the tough lessons, the tests that we have faced throughout our journey. Those experiences have given us what we now need to do what God is asking us to do, to carry what He is asking us to carry. As I have grown in my faith I have become more and more thankful that God’s timing is not aligned with mine. I am so grateful that He did not answer all of my prayers when I asked him to. If He had, I definitely wouldn’t have been ready.
God first needs to send us from our comfort zone into the stretch zone, where we can grow and become bigger on the inside. A God enlargement that prepares us for a future assignment.
Both of the women in our stories stretched, both received growth, both saw a miracle (one of supply/provision, one of multiplication/a son) but that wasn’t the end of the stretch.
Both had no idea that God was actually enlarging them, stretching them and preparing them for an even greater miracle. A miracle that would require an even bigger stretch. This is the bit I’ve been bursting to tell you!!!
You see, both of these women had sons who suddenly became very ill and died. Both sons were taken to an upstairs room and both were prayed for by a man of God. Elijah in our first story, and Elisha in our second. Both boys were raised to life.
You see so often we limit God to what He does in our immediate circumstance, and if we don’t see results immediately we write Him off as an absent, detached God. But God is more interested in the process than the problem. He is more invested in your character than your comfort.
Where are you feeling stretched? Remember, the stretch that you are experiencing right now will not just bring supply and enlargement for your today, it is growing and developing an even greater miracle in your tomorrow.
God is building in you a capacity to hold all that He has for you.
Now go out there and live like you believe it.