35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
We’ve all heard it before. You have to commit to the work to see the growth. It takes more than a week (or even a month) at the gym to see change. It takes more than one practice to master the game. But what we rarely talk about is what happens before the work: the stretching.
To go farther, longer, and faster, you do the opposite. You sit.
No one is handing out awards to the best stretcher. In the gym, they put the stretching mat in the corner. It is more ritual than a performance. But that’s because it’s necessary for growth.
We’re talking about growing through hardship. And for that to be true in our lives, we have to start somewhere as unconventional as stretching. We have to learn to let go. That may be the one thing you need to do in this season that you haven’t tried yet. 2020 has felt like a year where lofty resolutions were quickly traded in for an “I just have to hold on” mentality. The idea of growing at this time seems so foreign. We’re just trying to make it, we’ll worry about “growth” later.
But here’s the secret. The seasons, or years, of our life that seem like they’re the most out of control is when God proves that He is in control. What’s too big for you , isn’t too big for God. And in seasons of uncertainty, doubt, and seeming setbacks, God is still there, just hoping you let go.
I know when we talk about growth through trial it seems like we should talk about grit and perseverance. All that is great. But the foundation isn’t grit, it’s worship. It’s sitting in His presence. It’s stretching your sight to see His power. His only requirement for you is to sit and see. There’s strength in the stretch.
Too often we want to show our faith through acting like nothing’s wrong. That we’re good and have everything under control. What if we could learn to exercise our faith by recognizing that while our circumstances may not seem conducive to growth, that has never stopped our Savior.
He has a knack for making a way out of no way. The level to which you will come out of this year better than you went in, is directly correlated to the level that you let go of trying to control the narrative of your life and lean towards the One who’s actually in control anyway. Your trust in God should be one of the main things that is fortified on the other side of hardship. What you believe may be a little questionable at the moment, but whom you believe doesn’t have to be.
What do you have to lose? You’ve tried holding it all together. You’ve tried using will power to get through life. You’ve tried suppressing your fears. Why not try letting go, and stretching. Stretching your faith, to strive for nothing else than drawing near to the Father. Faith isn’t evidenced by your preparation. Faith is realized when instead of looking around at your life defeated based on what you see, you choose to look up and worship, based on WHO you see.
Try it. Let go. You’re gonna make it through to the other side and you’re gonna make it there stronger than how you entered. Not because of you holding on, but because God is holding on to you.
- What were your goals at the beginning of the year and how have they shifted?
- Mark 4:25-41 – Jesus tells them where they’re going but circumstances cause the disciples to focus on the here & now, and to question Jesus’ care for them. What can we learn from this story?
- When God has called you to something, it’s on Him to get you there. How does that truth, affect your faith?
- What are some comfort zones you’re being pushed out of this season?
- In a culture that values striving, how can you practically live out faith?