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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

From Threads to Tapestries…and more coffee

Ever come across one of those verses in the Bible that holds the mirror up to you and you don’t like what you see? You know – those ones that ‘hit you where you live’ and make you pull the log out of your own eye before you dig for the splinter in someone else’s? Yea…well….I’m chewing on a few threads to see what kind of tapestry it’s weaving

I went with Mom to her church today. Their series this summer is on being His witnesses. The pastor had me captivated and I was soaking it in but it was the lyrics in a couple songs that got my brain going.

To set the stage….think about someone who’s hurt you….maybe physically, maybe emotionally, maybe both. Think of the feelings you have toward that person, about the event, about the effects it all has on you – maybe even to this day. Think how you would react if someone challenged you by asking if you’ve forgiven that person. Yeah…you read that right….forgive! The thought of that may just make you more angry! Or it can be a scalpel in the hands of a skilled Surgeon trying to heal you, even if you didn’t realize you needed healing.

OK – got it? Are you in that moment? Good…..because those are some things I’ve been chewing on when I listened to these lyrics today.

“Everyone needs compassion, a love that’s never failing, let Mercy fall on me….Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Savior….”

Um…..I don’t like that sound! Let me be more specific…I like the sounds of it when I’M the beneficiary, but when I’m the messenger having to extend the forgiveness…..I’m not so sure about that one.

And then 2 Cor. 5:20 pops in my mind: “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Figures….verses always creep in just when I don’t want them (but need them). Time for a sip of coffee….I need something to wash this down with.

You mean to say that me extending forgiveness to someone who doesn’t deserve it is a way that I’m an ambassador for God? That maybe, just maybe, He wants to use me forgiving someone as a way to bring that person to Him? That’s a big bite to swallow! Or maybe, beyond that, He just wants the forgiveness to be a quiet affair between He and I and He wants to use that to do something new in my life? All this from 2 lines of a song?! C’mon, now…..maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

Then there was the pastor saying right before communion ‘You have been invited by God to His supper.’ WHOA! A PERSONAL invitation from God, the Creator of the Universe? HE wants to eat with me?! Little old me who’s still choking on this thought about forgiveness, and NOW He’s reminding me that He’s already done what He’s asking me to do? He’s already forgiven me when I didn’t deserve it!

And then I think of Nehemiah (been reading that book of the Bible the last week), and how he saw there were myriads upon myriads of holes in the wall around Jerusalem that needed repairing. The wall that was meant to protect had been damaged. It needed a master’s touch.

By this time I think I needed a THERMOS of coffee!

We all have walls. We put them up like barbed wire around our hearts to protect us when we’ve been hurt. We keep people at an arm’s distance – or further. Maybe you hide behind laughter. I like to be in control – or at least paint that picture.

How’s your wall? I thought mine was a fortress but have only recently been embracing the idea (truth) that it’s full of holes and needs a Master’s touch. I let my wall do my protecting for me. He tells me He has a different uniform for me – a different dress code. He says He wants me to wear a breastplate of righteousness! I’m still chewing on what that all really means. I ‘know’ in my head what that means but how that actually plays out in my life….well…..lots to transfer! He wants to be my Protector and my fighter. He wants to fight for me and protect me. Wow….that’d be nice – to be defended instead of having to defend. He wants me to drop my weapons and defenses, stand defenseless (in the eyes of the untrained, that is), and even when I see the attack coming, not raise my fists but to just trust Him to fight for me instead? Anyone have a refill on that Thermos of coffee?! And a donut! Chocolate iced, custard filled, please.

I’m not sure where I go from here. That’s a lot to chew on. Sometimes I think I’m choking more than chewing. Lots of threads I’m unraveling to see what kind of tapestry He’s painting. I ‘know’ what He wants me to do, what He requires me to do, what He’s equipped me to do. I ‘know’ it doesn’t matter if my heart’s not in it. But I still have this mile long valley between my head and my heart that we continue to try to bridge. And while I ‘know’ this will go a long way to helping that happen, I also know He’ll give me grace as I work it through. He asks a lot. But no more than He’s already asked of Himself and given to me, so I have no real leg to stand on. It’s just a matter of the will. It’s just a matter of redressing myself in His clothes, letting HIM do that fighting, and letting HIM protect me.

Sometimes I have to start at the VERY beginning with one simple question: “Am I willing to be willing?” No matter how many pages of the Bible I turn to find a verse to justify my procrastination, I won’t find it. I’m just thankful He’s ‘slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness’ as I work it through to get where He’s waiting for me….at the foot of the cross.

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