Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Tangled Life

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive" goes the famous line from the Sir Walter Scott poem "Marmion" (1808), and how true it is. This line talks about how lying leads to more lies to keep the first lie from being discovered. Here's the thing though, we do not need to "practice to deceive" to get a tangled life. All we really have to do to get a tangled life is to rely on fallible things. Things like our jobs, our hobbies, our friends and family, or even ourselves. None of us are infallible, we are all imperfect. Now this is a frightening thought for most people, if we cannot rely on our friends, family, or ourselves, then how do we have an untangled life?

Is there a way?

Is it possible?

Is there something infallible to rely on and trust?

There is! There is only one infallible place we can put our trust-in God.

Even though we say we rely on God what happens a lot is we will give our lives to Him for a "trial run". After some time, if God isn't working to our imperfect standards, we will take our lives back like a small child grabbing at a toy screaming "NO IT'S MINE" instead of waiting for the perfect outcome. Then our lives, which God had so delicately started to untangle as a knitter of fine threads would untangle a priceless thread, become tangled again. Maybe even worse than before. Maybe with more scars and knots than what we had anticipated. But, when we come to our wits end, God is there, waiting patiently for us to return to Him. He's there, willing to start unraveling the mess we made bringing us closer to Him, closer to His perfection of us.

If we let God work, this is what will happen: God will take our wits end, gently working us into something he can use, something he designed specifically for us. He will unravel our tangles as gently as possible. There will be some tugging and pulling that will hurt, but the reward of an untangled life is worth the pain. He takes our tangled life, like a knitter would take a tangled mess of yarn, and winds us up to be used, like the knitter does with the yarn. Patiently working out the tangles and knots pulling our mess into an usable mass, preparing us for what He has planned. Painful, yes. Frustrating, at times, but don't give up. The results are worth the struggle.

After God untangles our messy life and has wound us up into a workable mass, He is ready to cast us onto His tools to create His design He planned specifically for us. He so patiently manoeuvres us into His pattern creating a useful object made and designed for a purpose. This part of the process is at times tedious and boring, and other times challenging and hard-but don't give up, God's not done for as it states in Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus". He steadily works us into His unique pattern, a design created specially for you.

When the design is complete, there is still work to be done. As the knitter who has finished her shawl knows to have a workable cloth you need to wet it down, stretch it into it's shape, and let it dry. Yes, some more pain. I know, pain doesn't feel good, but as the knitter will tell you, this process is essential to having the nuances of the pattern show. And just when you think "FINALLY, I'M DONE!!" God gently reminds us that we are to be useful, even after we are shaped and stretched, for it's now that we are the most useful. We are now able to bring comfort to those around us. We are to wrap ourselves around those who need comfort, a blessing, or peace. It is now that we can bear each others burdens (Gal 6:2), be the peace makers (Matt 5:9), love one another (Matt 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 6:27-36. John 13:34), and comfort each other (Rom 12:15). For in these things, we are being, as the song states, "Jesus in disguise".

Philippians 1:6 from the NASB version of the bible
"Jesus in Disguise" by Brandon Heath from the album Blue Mountain released August 10, 2012
Thanks to Linda Nelson for the picture with the shawl.