We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! (Romans 5:3-4)
As a seamstress of sorts, (actually just someone who sews things from time to time), I know the purpose of a hem. The hem exists so the rough edges that would easily fray if left alone are no longer exposed. You 'trap' the exposed edges and then enclose them. The purpose of hemming someone in is to hold them in place, so they cannot escape. You are restricting them in some manner. Just as with the hem on the garment which restricts the fabric from unraveling, the one who is hemmed in by anything (especially troubles) may feel like they cannot move or change their position. The opposite is quite true - for no 'hem' is actually permanent - there are always 'hem rippers'!
We are 'forged' in the moments when we feel a little 'closed in' by the circumstances of life. We may not feel it at the moment, but we aren't going to be 'stuck' there forever. As a matter of fact, God is about to bust through those walls today for a good number of us. The 'hem ripper' is about to be put into use and our life is about to feel free once again! In the meantime, we allow the 'forging' to continue - so steel-like strength is developed in us. What hems you in right now will not be able to hold you there for long because God has prepared a way of escape!
In the midst of troubles, something amazing happens - God's blessings just pour into our lives. We may not see them at first, but the Holy Spirit is hard at work preparing us to receive them. As our writer indicates - blessings too great for us to find enough containers to scoop them all up! Imagine for a moment being in one of those money machines where the air blows the bills all around and you are there grabbing for those bills. You are hemmed in, aren't you? The bills are right there, but the circumstances of the wind blowing them all over is making it hard to get hold of them. God's blessings are all around you right now, but you may feel you cannot get hold of them because the winds of adversity are blowing too hard for you to grab hold.
The Holy Spirit doesn't stop working in our lives just because a few trials come our way. In fact, he goes to work even harder because he has great things to show us in those trials. He has a work to do when we fell ourselves hemmed in. We might want out, but he isn't quite ready to rip out the hem yet. What is about to happen cannot be contained - that means there will be an abundance that comes from the midst of the most 'constrictive' of times and places in our lives. Just sayin!