The Stretch Is Real

Do you know someone who is always using the term “the struggle is real”?

Perhaps you’re like yup that’s me or maybe you know someone who is always using it.

That saying has really had me thinking lately about the mindset of verbalizing our struggles negatively. When I think of struggle, I think of fighting a situation, or having to wrestle with whatever is happening around us or to us. We will have always have challenges or things to overcome, that is what makes life, life. However, I had this thought planted in me lately that instead of saying the struggle is real, to have the mindset of saying the stretch is real.

What do I mean by the stretch is real? I mean to stretch out towards God for help and lean on His wisdom and understanding instead of our own. The image of God reaching down towards us and us towards him always comes to my mind. It’s interesting that in the Bible, God is always meeting us on our level, exactly where we are at.

I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’
To a nation that was not called by My name.
I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who walk in a way that is not good,
According to their own thoughts (Isaiah 65:1-2, emphasis added)

Isn’t it great to know that God will “stretch out His hands” even to those who are rebellious?

God operates in an economy of Grace, not works. He loves us as any father should love their child, unconditionally. No matter the circumstance our perfect Father is always there for us. That fills me with hope and makes me excited because if you or I had to be at his level before meeting him, well that would be never.

My eye wastes away because of affliction.

Lord, I have called daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You. (Psalm 88:9, emphasis added)

This wasn’t a prayer made in a time of rejoicing, it was in a time of despondency…when they felt as everything around them was going against them, questioning;

Lord, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me? (Psalm 88:14)

Yet, even then, the writer of the Psalm called upon the Lord daily and stretched out towards Him! When we are being stretched we are actually growing in our walk with God. The difference I am trying to make is in perspective and focus. When we say the struggle is real, it makes us feel as if our problem is bigger than God. By saying the stretch is real, we are reminding ourselves that our God is bigger than any of our problems.

One of our pastors shared a quote that has stuck with her, and now it has been stuck in my spirit. Here is the “truth-bomb” she laid on us, “Any area of your life that is not glistening with hope is under the influence of a lie.” (Francis Frangipane’s book The Three Battlegrounds is where the quote originates). It’s one of those quotes that just makes you go ouch in a good way.

For me it made me realize that by stretching to God we are believing in the glistening hope that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us…conversely by struggling we are choosing to believe the lie.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

The word for hope used in this scripture is the Greek word elpis, which denotes “confident expectation” or “anticipation” not “wishful thinking” as some happen to relate to hope.

What are you confidently expecting for? Is there any area of your life that perhaps you realize now that you were only wishful thinking?

I want to encourage you to stretch out towards God with whatever challenge you are trying to overcome. As we walk out in faith and obedience,  confidently expecting and keeping our focus on Him, He will meet us where we are and make something great out of our challenges.