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Monday, December 26, 2011

What pattern are you following?


With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.  When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, 
      those who fear you will take heart and be glad. 
(Psalm 119:73-74 The Message)

The term "take heart" means to gain strength and courage in a difficult situation.  David reminds us that the example we exhibit in the times of waiting on God to act has the potential of causing others to take heart - - to gain strength and courage for their own difficult circumstances.  In the midst of difficulty, what makes you stand strong?

According to our author, it is the confidence he has in the one who has created him.  It goes without saying that the one doing the "assembling" of the pieces of our lives is the best to address the pressures that come against those "pieces".  I have sewn a few things in my days.  By the time I finished with the assembly of those pieces, I knew everything about that garment.  I had touched the material so many times, turning it this way and then that way, until it was "formed" into what the pattern promised.  The key to the "forming" was in the "pattern" that I followed!

The same is true in life - - the key to us being "formed" well is in the "pattern" we are being formed to fit!  We are reminded repeatedly that we have but one pattern worth following - - Jesus Christ.  The one doing the "forming" is God himself - - the pattern he follows is his one and only Son, Jesus.  It stands to reason that God would know us "inside and out" just as I got to know the ins and outs of the garments I put together.  As his hands pass over the pieces of our lives, he is forming them into something that no longer resembles what they were before - - disconnected pieces without any recognizable form.

I marvel at the skill of God in taking those things within our lives that seem to have no recognizable purpose and then using them to become the very things that give stability and testimony within our lives.  The hands of God sometimes have to "pass over" the pieces of our lives many times before the "forming" work is complete.  There is a technique of making a french seam in sewing that allows the frayed edges to no longer be visible - - they are sewn within the framework of the seam in such a way that they stop their raveling!

God is all over that work of keeping us from "unraveling"!  His hands skillfully guide the parts that are given to "unraveling" into a protective "meshing" of the parts so that the unraveling no longer is a threat!  In his skillful way, he guides us through the "forming" process, stitching together the pieces we don't see value in.  It should never surprise us that God sees value in every stitch he places!  Nothing escapes his perfect touch.

In making those garments, I often wanted to leave out some of the pieces.  I just did not see the importance of that small piece of facing, or the hidden pieces of materials that would give "firmness" to the finished product.  The facing served to "tuck out of view" the edges - - in so doing, not only was a "prettier" image presented, but the edges that were raw were protected from further fraying!  The "interfacing" was placed within the structure of the garment because it added firmness and support.  In much the same way, God's Word provides firmness and support when it is allowed to be "sewn into" the structure of our lives.

We may not see what is taking form within our lives - - but when we trust the skill of the one doing the forming, we can stand strong.  In the forming process, others look on and take courage - - seeing that reliance on the skill of the Great Craftsman yields a finished product that mirrors the "pattern"!