Tangled threads - Hope 103.2

Tangled threads

By David ReayMonday 16 Dec 2013LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 2 Corinthians 6:3-10

3 We are putting no obstacle in anyone’s way,so that no fault may be found with our ministry,4 but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance,in afflictions,hardships,calamities,5 beatings,imprisonments,riots,labors,sleepless nights,hunger; 6 by purity,knowledge,patience,kindness,holiness of spirit,genuine love,7 truthful speech,and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor,in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors,and yet are true; 9 as unknown,and yet are well known; as dying,and see-we are alive; as punished,and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful,yet always rejoicing; as poor,yet making many rich; as having nothing,and yet possessing everything. (NRSV)

One of my numerous childhood quirks was my liking of fruitcake but dislike of sultanas. The logic of this led to occasional futile attempts to dig out the fruit from the fruitcake so as to render it edible. Needless to say it was,pardon the pun,a fruitless exercise!

A bit like trying to untangle our lives in such a way as to remove the hard bits and retain the easy bits. Paul reminds us that the tapestry of his life was an assortment of threads that contained both welcome and unwelcome aspects. Gladness and sadness,joy and sorrow,love and pain. It seems they belong together.

Counsellors tell us,rightly,that if we bury painful memories we end up burying pleasant memories as well. If we refuse to accept the less attractive sides of those we love we actually reject the attractive sides as well. Life,it seems,is a package deal. Trying to untangle the threads of the good and not so good is futile. We are left with something less than life itself,a sanitised and unreal version of the real thing.

Better to be like Paul who saw God at work in all types of circumstances. He didn’t need to untangle the threads,to censor out the ‘bad bits’. He knew all the ‘bits’ belonged together and to untangle the threads would destroy the tapestry.

David Reay