We recently made a visit to the state botanical gardens.
While there, we ran up on a class meeting in the atrium―women sitting at desks with some sort of handwork in front of them. I had no idea what they were doing.
Turns out they were making bobbin lace.
“May I take a picture of your hands?” I asked one of the workers.
“Sure,” she said and then laughed. “But right now, I’m doing something called ripping out.”
I nodded. “I’ve done enough sewing to know exactly what that means.”
I watched as she moved the bobbins back and forth to remove the portion of lace she’d just done.
She had blocked out everything except what she was working on right then, but for me, she removed the blocking and showed me the pattern she was aiming towards―a large intricate bird design. I wondered how long it might take her to finish.
She didn’t seem too concerned about it.
I walked away thinking it’s amazing what God gives us the patience for―such tedious work and the progress so incremental.
But I kept going back to that ripping out business.
Honestly, when I’m sewing, I’d almost rather start all over than tear out a large portion of what I’ve done and redo it. So tedious.
Yet that’s exactly what I ask God to do for me.
In The Armor of God, Priscilla Shirer writes, “Being a believer doesn’t give you immunity from the assaults of the enemy, but it does give you access to the power of the Father―His power to defend you as well as reverse what’s been done to you.”
God’s making lace out of our lives, an intricate, lovely pattern, but the enemy is all about throwing in everything he can to cause a snarl.
But when that happens, we can call out to God, and He doesn’t throw us in the rag box, he patiently unravels the mess and continues to weave his work in our lives. When He rips something out, he doesn't jerk us around, but is tender and loving. Amazingly, he can even use the mess for his Glory. And when we can’t go back to where we started, somehow God meets us right where we are to work with the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
For sure, His time table is oh, so different than ours. We want it done now. His eyes are on eternity.
The trip to the botanical garden gave me not only a front row seat to the beauty of nature, but insight into the beauty he can work in my own life, as well.
So as Priscilla says, let's "flip the script." Pray with me. God, go ahead, rip it out.
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us” (Ephesians 3:20-21 The Message).