The Spiritual Practice of Trusting in God: Day 4 of 8


Stretching Our Cisterns

-Rick Hocker

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. -Ephesians 3:16-19 (NIV)

We believe that God loves us and has our well-being in mind. You won't like hearing this, but our well-being isn't high on His list. What is high on His list is our transformation. Well-being is fleeting, but our transformation has eternal significance.

The process by which we are transformed is at odds with our well-being. The process is uncomfortable. Transformation is the stretching of our souls to enlarge our capacity for more of God. More of His life and presence. More of His Spirit. More of His activity in our lives and inner being. Ephesians 3:17 expresses Paul's prayer that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith. Two verses later, Paul ends his prayer with his request that we be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. God can dwell in us, but He cannot inhabit us in all His fullness unless our souls are enlarged to contain it.

Do you know what a cistern is? A cistern is an underground reservoir for storing water. Friends of ours in Hawaii have a cistern underneath their house. Rainwater is collected in their cistern and they use this stored rainwater to water their yard and gardens. Each of us has a spiritual cistern within our souls. It is the space within us where God dwells. This cistern is like an elastic bladder than can be stretched and expanded to contain more of God's life within us. We enlarge our cisterns by choosing to trust God, especially when trusting is the most difficult, when life tempts us to doubt and fear. We can be transformed by life or not.

If we choose to trust God, then we are changed to more closely match His holy blueprint for our lives. If we don't trust, then the transformative effect doesn't touch us and the things we have gone through are for naught. We miss out and stay the same as before.

About the Author

Rick Hocker is a game programmer, artist, and author. In 2004, he sustained a back injury that left him bedridden in excruciating pain for six months, followed by a long recovery. He faced the challenges of disability, loss of income, and mounting debt. After emerging from this dark time, he discovered that profound growth had occurred. Three years later, he had a dream that inspired him to write his award-winning book Four in the Garden. His intent was to illustrate one's growth toward deep communion with God, and to share the insights he gained from the personal transformation that resulted from his back injury. Rick lives in Martinez, California, with his husband, Mark. Find out more at and at