"Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back;
lengthen your cords, strengthen your cords" (Isaiah 54:2 NIV).
Do you like change? I cringe at the word change, but yet, my life continues to change with each new year that God gives me to continue serving Him. I should embrace change when God says, "Enlarge your place of your tent,"––it means He is enlarging my ministry that I might expand His kingdom with Him. I should live as though I have it all––because I do. I have God, His power, and all I need to do His will. I have a tent (my place of service) but, it's up to me to stretch and not hold back because I am comfortable in my smaller tent. Still, I'm bunkered in––comfortable in my smaller tent and holding back. Stretching my tent curtains wide is hard with my narrow vision. Then, I reflect on my first night in a tent.
My experience with tents is limited to one camping adventure with our Sunday School class many years ago. A member of the class had an enormous army tent and offered it for the trip. Let me say this––we were young. We were energetic, and our group had a unique bond. We did fun things together and always enjoyed food together––lots of scrumptious food. But regardless of the sweet fellowship and great food, this trip would prove I had no missionary blood in my veins––zilch. Comfortable doesn't describe my first and last tent experience. The word glamper didn't exist in the dictionary at that time.
After our group spent hours assembling the humongous beast, we all placed our cots in family sections and then gathered around the bonfire munching on hotdogs and marshmallows. Before bedding down for the first night of our memorable trip, we had a time of prayer and praise. Sweet voices joined in campfire songs that filled the fresh night air. Toasty and sleepy, we bedded down in our prepared areas. Everything quiet, with crickets rubbing their legs in the distance and a hooting owl hovering near, the night sounds lulled me to sleep. Until in the dark, a shill scream woke everyone. It was me screaming. "There's a snake over there in the corner."
The campers leaped from their comfy blankets and flashlights beamed everywhere in the tent. Looking for the snake, one man asked, "How could you have seen a snake in the dark?" I didn't. I was dreaming--of snakes! More like a nightmare but oh so real. Of all the memories of that camping trip, which one do you think everyone remembers? A few years later when God called us to the mission field, what story do you think surfaced? Snakes in the tent! In that tent, on that night I couldn't have imagined the snake stories to come––a coral snake in my kitchen in Bolivia–– that I almost stepped on in my bare feet (among other snake stories). My tent stretched to Bolivia where God enlarged our ministry many times. And, now once more through Worthy Words Press to print books in Spanish for underprivileged kids I feel the stretch.
Do you find yourself stagnant and desiring to stretch your "tent" to do more for God, but you are holding back? Most of us find ourselves in that comfortable zone and like being inside our small tents. But, outside it waits the extraordinary things we never dreamed we could do--and apart from God, we can't. But, when we stretch our tents, we find the joy zone, knowing it's not anything we can do but everything God can do through us. And, God gets the glory.
I know God will get the glory when Worthy Words Press reaches underprivileged kids for Him through books with worthy words that tell of Jesus. I'm enlarging my tent of ministry, and it's not easy and a bit scary, but oh, so exciting too.
When stretching our tents results in God being glorified, that is God's will! Let's not hold back.
Go ahead, enlarge the place of your tent and let God get the glory.