Many of us, myself included, begin our serving and leading with fiery passion and extreme drive. I know when I recommitted my life to Christ many years ago, nothing could stop me from fulfilling the desire to serve. The enemy seemed to be far away from me and what I desired seemed to come with little effort. But quickly I began to realize that my faith muscle was quite weak. A few years into serving things began to occur which required a spiritual maturity that I lacked….each encounter stretching my faith and increasing my pain tolerance. My threshold was shallow and stretching my faith was painful. However, each time I chose to endure, God was faithful and my faith and trust in Him increased. But, as the pain increased the desire to serve was something I would debate (I know…I’m ashamed to admit it), not because I didn’t love to serve but because I didn’t like the pain of the stretching.
The stretching process refines and strengthens but it is indeed painful. Over the years there were times I thought, I won’t make it this time…I’ll break…it’s too much, I can’t bear it but God always provides just what we need when we need it. The truth is, if we desire to grow, the stretching will never stop. There will be seasons of rest and seasons of stretching…both needed and necessary for our health and growth. The moment you stop stretching your faith is the moment you stop growing in your relationship with Christ.
One thing to remember during your stretching experience is that EVERY thing God allows holds great purpose for you and all those involved. There is purpose in every “Yes”, in every “No”, in every beginning, in every end, in joy, in pain, in loss, in gain, in brokenness and in healing. Look for God and His purpose in everything you go through and when you see Him (and you will) the stretching becomes more tolerable. When you’re on the other side of it, you’ll be stronger and better equipped to do all that God has set forth for you to do….no pain, no gain. Where is your faith being stretched in this season? Are you resisting the stretch or leaning into it to become stronger?
James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Sam Chand has written a great book on this very topic called Leadership Pain. Click here to download the first two chapters for free.