I watched a demonstration of putting this safety wire through bolts to keep them from slipping or loosening during vibration. It was really cool to see the funky pliers that I’m sure have an actual name do their work of twisting this thick wire together to strengthen its purpose. These bolts go on airplanes and that’s not something we want to come loose a thousand feet up in the air. Falling parts just don’t work for me. I was fascinated by how hard it was to try to twist the thick wire by hand yet this tool did the trick in no time. The students who were learning the art of this safety wiring were practicing again and again, cutting and puncturing their fingers again and again. They were critiquing their work and coaching one another, cutting out what was bad and starting over from scratch. There was a method that had to be followed to do it properly and they memorized it. Their persistence to get it right and tight was dogged; there wasn’t another option. It was either right and tight or wrong. No kinks and no extra wire. No missing a step of the method. They knew what they did made a future difference – safe or not safe. Life or maybe not life.
As I watched I thought about the times in life that I wish I had been that dogged and persistent. Times I wished I had realized that to keep on twisting a kinked wire weakened it. Times that I skipped a step and hoped it didn’t matter. I didn’t make sure the bolts were tight and in the vibrations of life, they loosened. A thousand feet up and out they came…and parts started falling.
As I thought of these things I also thought about how even though I hadn’t done my bit as well as I should, God did His. He stretched out His arms and opened His hands to catch those falling parts, loose bolts, wires and all.
Amazing to me how people can go through this life with all the bangs and falls and not turn to the Lord. He’s there, patient, waiting, ready…with outstretched arms and open hands. Nail scarred hands. Hands that did no wrong but took the fall for us all. That’s a wow in my book. And because that’s such a huge wow, it makes me sad to think of those who reject His gift. And it makes me wonder why, why is it so hard for some to give their hearts to God?
I think the why is because we don’t want to accept that someone is sovereign over our lives, that there is someone greater that we cannot control, that we can’t shape and mold to our own way of thinking, that we can’t influence and we can’t charm to get our own way. God comes with boundaries and clear lines drawn in the sand and I think we feel that when we accept God we will feel compelled to bend and change our thoughts and actions, that we lose who we are, that we lose control over our own lives. Flash – we don’t have it anyway. We can make decisions and choices and try to control our own destiny but when it comes right down to it, we are at the mercy of things outside our scope of influence all the time.
Being a Christian doesn’t mean perfection or rose-strewn paths; there is hardship in our lives and pain and grief and sorrow and mistakes and mess ups. We’re human. Being a Christian isn’t about rituals and rules, either; it’s about a relationship between God and the believer, a relationship based on faith, a relationship based on trust and love. And it means when we haven’t tied the wire right, when we’ve let the bolts fly off, that His Word grounds us, His voice whispers words of forgiveness and hope, His peace fills our heart, His strength holds us up, His comfort never leaves us, and His hands catch us again and again when we fall.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33