“Enlarge the place of your tent;
Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not;
Lengthen your cords
And strengthen your pegs.
As we begin to (hopefully and prayerfully) move from a year or more of isolation back into in-person gatherings, I see God’s hand at work. Through the pandemic He has stirred unmet passions for ministries and purpose. I recently read an article in the New York Times that quoted many people who in essence said they could never go back to the way things were before the pandemic. They no longer cared about the status quo.
Many people are not content to “go back to normal.” God is at work. He is broadening horizons and showing His children new possibitlities as well as bringing fresh ideas and new opportunities. He is enlarging territories and calling His children to fully operate in the gifts, skills, and talents He has placed within them. As Isaiah puts it in Isaiah 54:2, He is enlarging the place of tents.
Consider for a moment what it takes to enlarge a tent, to stretch out the curtains of a tent dwelling, to lengthen cords and strengthen pegs. I would suggest that before a larger tent can be put in place, the smaller original dwelling must be dismantled. What does that mean metaphorically for you and I?
I believe the Lord is at work dismantling mindsets that limit us. He is tearing down the old thought patterns that keep us captive, the self-limiting beliefs based on the past notion of identity and pupose. He is silencing the voices that tell us to stay put and to not step out of the boat at the Lord’s invitation to walk on water.
The Lord is looking for a people who will embrace His Kingdom purpose right where they are. He is waiting to see who of us will, like Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8), say, “Here am I, send me!”
It may take some dismantling of the old way of thinking. The one that says ministering to others is meant for the four walls of the church or official nonprofit, rather than tucked within your day to day activities. It may take a removing of curtains that hide the view of where the Lord is asking you to go. It will stretch you and cause you to strengthen yourself.
I am reminded about stretching and strengthening physically. Both happen when the body hits a limit and then moves forward from that limitation. We are told to stretch to the point of tightness and then breathe to release the tightness and relax into the stretch. By doing so, we lengthen the muscle fibers and the next time we can stretch further.
Have you hit a place of tightness spiritually? Do you find yourself unsure that you have what it takes to move forward towards the big dream you carry? Take a breath. Breathe in the breath of the Holy Spirit and relax into it. Rest with the Lord. Tomorrow you will find that you can go further than you could today.
The body strengthens itself using weights. We call it resistance training. The point about resistance training I want to make is that muscles are rebuilt during sleep after exercise. The muscle fiber tears during resistance and is rebuilt when we rest.
We strengthen our spiritual man in much the same cycle of resistance and rest. Lean into the resistance that is sure to come your way as you enlarge the place of your tent. Ask Holy Spirit to show you the lessons He is teaching you through it. What areas is He tearing down in order to rebuild? Then rest, knowing there is purpose in resistance. Allow the Lord to rebuild your spirtual strength as you rest in Him.
I find Isaiah 54:2 to be most encouraging because it speaks about expanding my tent right where I live. God is at work where we currently live and work. His expansion as described here does not require us to pack up our tents and move to another country like Abraham (Genesis 12:1–3). It does require time spent in His Presence to allow Him to show us what needs to be dismantled in order for Him to expand our spheres of influence.
I pray that as you sit with the Lord, He will show you His vision for your future. I pray that He will open your eyes to see and your ears to hear where He is expanding the place of your tent.