Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Thread of Grace

Only God can write such a letter. His letter authorizes us to help carry out this new plan of action. The plan wasn't written out with ink on paper, with pages and pages of legal footnotes, killing your spirit. It's written with Spirit on spirit, his life on our lives! (2 Corinthians 3:1-18 Message)

"Our competence is from God. Outside my window a spider spins its web. This web is a thing of grace and beauty, so delicate and yet so strong that it supports the spider's weight with ease. The spider walks back and forth across the strands with speed and confidence born of skill and experience. The web is the spider's masterpiece and a task for which it was created.

I saw the spider begin this web, lowering itself from the window frame above by a single strand which it spun out as it dropped, seemingly undaunted by the risk of falling. The spider placed complete confidence in that slender strand and launched out fearlessly to spin the web. Having attached the web to the bottom of the window frame, the spider then connected the web to other contact points and proceeded to complete its work. But the whole operation began with that one trusted thread!

Like the spider, we too can launch out with complete confidence to do what God has created us to do, relying on the strong thread of grace that ties us to God. It is God's strength that supports us and God's love for us that will not fail. We need have no fear as long as we put our trust in the saving grace of God." By Dorothee A. Holmstrup (New Jersey)

I am not a spider lover. I have a husband who plays with them and especially likes the hairy ones with blue eyes. I ask you, blue eyes? Who gets close enough to notice eye color? I killed one so big in Texas it had a face and I was trying not to look, trust me.

Still, the image pictured in this story above resonates with me. My dad taught his babies to walk by holding one end of a handkerchief while we held the other. Off we went on unsteady legs, weaving back and forth but staying upright because we saw Dad holding the other end of that hankie. That vision prompted forward motion. It was only a short step from the hankie to the training wheels coming off but it began with a look and a step and a belief that we were upheld.

We are upheld. Upheld by our dearly loved Father who has made a plan for us. Something new for today, for the future (I have plans to give you the future you hope for. Jeremiah 29:11) He is also prepared to help us find the resources and the courage to execute those plans. All the while the thread holds us safely connected to Him.

We have several friends in transition. They are relocating. Transition times are dangerous. It is hard not to feel you have one foot on the train and the other on a banana peel. But God has sent His grace on ahead. His love and care is already irrigating their new land. (I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don't you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land. Isaiah 43:19)

New plans take courage. Those dreams also need friendly midwives. Search out people who hear God and love His heart. Who love your heart and won't throw the baby in the river before it breaths. I love the quote from Gimli, the dwarf in the Lord of the Rings, "Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?" He could make that statement because he made it in the presence of friends who had his back and because in his heart he believed he had a fighting chance in the company of brothers born of adversity.

That kind of support can embolden any of us to newness and greatness even when it consists of something short of war like picking up a paintbrush, enrolling in school, losing 10 pounds or 50, flushing cigarettes down the toilet, or coming back from an illness. Friends are the anchors, the attachments, for the web in progress.

Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them. Ralph Waldo Emerson

The 4th of July approaches. If there ever was an example of a plan that needed courage, daring, timing, luck, skill and blessing, the birth of America is it. We live in a country where a great many thing are possible. The story of the birth of our nation inspires me. There were men and women who trusted each other and who trusted God to do that "New thing."

Is today a good time to think about some new land in your life? What is the Spirit showing you? Can you trust that single thread? Will you? If the answer is "yes" then answer another question posed by Christian writer Jack Zavada: Are you willing to trust the Lord when trusting the Lord can require that you abandon everything you've ever believed about what brings happiness and fulfillment?

His ways are higher, different, better, and sometimes not easily understood. Can we trust Him? Will we let Him lead, guide, shape our path and post detours at His discretion? If so then what are we waiting for? All we need is that single thread to get started. Starting small is OK. God does small. Sometimes small is beautiful in its obedience and simplicity.

Grab your end of the hankie!

Spider's web in Images of Fall by Dan Hyde
Lily of the Valley from my garden

No comments:

Post a Comment