Look! I am doing a new thing… (Isaiah 43:19)
The owner of an upscale boutique led me through the aisles of his shop filled with exquisite clothing. It only took a sidelong glance at a few price tags to determine that this was a shop far beyond any budget I could ever hope to have. Quite unexpectedly, the owner-friend said, “Pick out something for yourself, Marilyn,” but instead of quickly choosing a garment, I seemed stunned into inactivity. Finally our friend handed me a beautiful black and white sequined sweater of intricate design. “This is perfect for you.” In just moments the gift was wrapped in fine tissue, thrust into a bag and we walked out of this shopper’s heaven. In the months and years ahead I wore this lovely sweater on many semi-formal occasions and always felt like some woman out of the pages of the fashion magazine Elle.
But one day I noticed that a few threads binding the front of the knitted garment to the bottom band were loose. Soon the entire front had unraveled from the band and my lovely sweater was in fragments. Its parts were still beautiful but because it was no longer whole, my fine garment was no longer wearable. I carefully folded my beautiful sweater and placed it in the back of a drawer where it seemed destined to be unused and unusable, merely a pleasant memory.
Frequently we look at what we consider our human weaknesses or the “little sins” which plague us and decide they are just part and parcel of the human condition. We allow ourselves to be lulled into believing that a consistently negative attitude, lack of discipline in any area of life, listless study of the Bible, or nonchalant attitude toward physical suffering in the world around us are merely actions and attitudes “common to man.” We measure ourselves against what is considered the norm and become complacent with far less than God’s intended holy purposes for our lives.
We have become like the beautiful sweater tucked into a corner of the drawer, remembering past days when we were seen as reflections of God’s glory, when we glowed with the joy of submission to His will, but we now lie unused and unusable, with merely pleasant memories of our past abundant life.
But the story of my sweater didn’t end in the drawer. One day a new friend, an accomplished knitter, showed me some of her beautiful work and I told her the story of my sweater. “Oh, I could fix that so it would be like new,” she said with confidence. I doubted her word and skill at first, but finally placed my sweater into her hands. Imagine my surprise and delight when only a week later she handed me a re-created sweater with not a trace of its former fragmented condition. It had been restored to its former glory and subsequently was worn on many occasions. When I frequently received compliments on my black and white designer sweater, I smiled and said “thank you,” but another kind of smile was in my heart. Only I knew that this sweater had once been put aside as unwearable but had been made new.
What a thrill it must give God when we allow Him to re-create us on a daily basis so that others look at us and see the beauty of Jesus. We know we have been fragmented and maybe even thrust into the dark corners of drawers for periods of time, but God is always willing, ready and able to re-knit us into beautiful reflections of His glory.
by Marilyn Ehle
used by permission
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