We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings. (Rom. 5:2–3)

I PULLED THE BOWSTRING back as hard as I could, but when I released the arrow it merely flopped halfheartedly to the ground. Over and over I tried to sail that arrow through the air, but I simply didn’t have the strength or skills to get the arrow close to the target—or much past my own feet, for that matter. Even though the bowstring was designed to withstand a great deal of pressure, part of me feared that I could break it, and that tentativeness affected how I drew back and released the arrow, and also how far the arrow flew—or not.

Just like the bowstring on the bow must be adequately stretched to properly propel the arrow, so we as Christ-followers can rejoice when we are stretched beyond our comfort to a higher target of godly character. Our bowstrings are stretched through suffering and pain, disappointments and unmet expectations. And every time our bowstring of faith is stretched, we have the potential to fly higher and farther toward the marks Jesus set for us—the marks of hope, peace, and joy.

How we respond to God’s divine stretching is an indication of how well we’ll fly in life—whether we will live as joyful, peaceful, and hopeful Christians or unhappy, anxious, and despairing ones.

Examine how tentative you are to God’s stretching, and ask God to help you relax and trust in Him.

Rebecca Aarup studies at Liberty University and enjoys leading small groups in her church and mentoring other women.