While the patient is lying on the bench the therapist manipulates the arm. At first, nothing is noticed. It feels like simple movements with a little bounce to it. Gradually a little pressure is added with the rotation. Then there is a bit of resistance, some pain, and the threat of tears. Before the mouth renders a scream the therapist returns to the nice and easy motions. Then the cycle resumes. It seems that the point of the exercise is twofold. The goal is either to see how much pain the patient can endure before tears fall or to get those muscles functioning with a full range of motion. More than likely it is the latter.
In the life of the Christian, we experience something similar to the therapy described above. There seem to be periods of time where the motion is smooth and easy. Change is occurring but it is barely noticed. Then without warning, God adds or allows a little pressure to increase the stretch.
It doesn’t always feel comfortable being stretched. I am feeling a pinch now and it is a little uncomfortable. Some time ago, Gail, our housekeeper told me she would be cutting back her clients. I understood, even encouraged her in the path of self-care. I had no idea that Bethel was among the clients being discontinued. Ouch! There was another pinch when our Bishop appointed Lahronda to Wesley Chapel UMC. Yippee for Lahronda and Wesley Chapel. Our Lay delegates Sheila and Larry gave their last annual conference report. We thank God for their 12 years of faithful service. Bethel has several other leaders retiring or changing roles as well.
The thing is transitions like these happen all the time. And change is not really a bad thing. Change may simply be a call for us to stretch our muscles, try out new movements. There is no need to fear change or times of transition. Like with the skilled therapist, we are in good hands. God is in control. Things are going as they should. We grow and mature as new leadership steps up allowing the Holy Spirit to work through them and through all of us.
It’s stretching time Bethel. Let’s loosen up the muscles! We don’t want them to atrophy. We need the full range of motion to address the concerns all around us. With the Great Physician in control, we will accomplish the Kingdom work set before us. With God’s help, we will meet the needs of our church and community.
Do not fear; for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10