I had never thought much about rubber bands. Sometimes I use them to keep things closed. But the process for making rubber bands consists of a variety of complicated actions. Starting with natural rubber slabs, the rubber band making business involves the use of water, talcum powder, certain chemicals, a mechanized rolling pin, an oven, extruding machine, and long tubes. When the process is finished, the rubber band is strong enough to withstand stretching and flexible enough to be used in a variety of ways.
When stressful situations enter our lives, uninvited, they can seem like a truck driving through the front door. We become anxious and want immediate resolution or, at the very least, a quick change for the better. When certain people come into our space and sabotage our emotions, we sometimes become impatient and angry. A display of anger or lack of self-control can destroy a relationship.
A crucial point to keep in mind: there will always be people and situations in our lives that require patience.
Like a rubber band, these unexpected challenges will stretch us, quite often for an extended period of months, or even years. Patience does not mean you curl up in a cocoon and lose hope. It may mean changing your expectations and looking for the positive aspects of the experience that produce character building, expressions of thankfulness, and having faith/hope that God will bring the solution that creates the best plan for you. (Romans 8:28)
Stretching builds our character and creates enduring trust in Him. During these rubber band situations, trust that the creativity of God is always active. His stretching will require patience and endurance from you, which means standing firm despite the obstacles or pain. (James 1:2-8) Job, (pronounced Jobe with a long O), throughout several months of extreme pain and suffering, exhibited patience, endurance, and faith. The reward for his patience was monumental. (Job 1-42) Athletes become great through their display of patience and endurance, and they do not quit every time they experience pain.
Rubber bands are useful because they can be stretched, which makes them remarkably resilient for many purposes. Have you ever wondered why a rubber band loses its elasticity (stretchiness)? I read that over time, the ingredients called “volatiles,” which keep it soft and flexible, evaporate, and it becomes stiff and breaks. In the same way, people often become hardened and inflexible, like a stiff rubber band. This is more likely to happen when we lose our trust in God. He has all the ingredients to frame us so that we remain mature, strong, and purposeful.
To achieve the benefit from our stretching moments, it may mean a change in thinking. Discipline yourself to embrace change, be flexible and open to adjustment, seek the truth, look for better ways to accomplish certain daily things, and practice being grateful.
We use rubber bands in many ways. We should view ourselves as being created to be used by God for His perfect mission for us. What better way for Him to accomplish His purpose than to stretch us like a rubber band beyond our “comfort zone.” (James 1:3-4)
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