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Leather Pleather

Updated on November 4, 2011
Owner's manual inside - Vegan friendly Bible Bags
Owner's manual inside - Vegan friendly Bible Bags | Source

Our Plan, God's Got a Better One

Sometimes, when I work with heavy materials like leather, pleather, plastic or vinyl, it’s more than my machine can handle. It gets hung up, my needles break or, I have to constantly rethread the needle because the thread breaks under the stress of heavy friction from the texture. I have to force it in to submission in order to make it cooperate and go together for the desired result. But as is often the case, when things are forced in to submission, the results are less than desired and I end up adding fancy stitches, patches, pins, or other little embellishments to cover up the mess I created in the process.

My machine has certain limitations and I have to work within them. It’s hard though, because what my mind’s eye sees I can’t always create. Sometimes it means I have to rethink the design, put it away for later, or discard it altogether. I imagine a sculptor must encounter this when the rock before him has a hidden flaw and just as the piece begins to take shape, the next strike of the hammer to chisel results in an entire side breaking off. There have been times I’ve worked so hard on a design only to have to painfully tear it down piece by piece and start over because something just wouldn’t go together or because I sewed myself in to a very unwieldy corner. I have cried over lost time and wasted materials. In my business, because I work with recycled pieces, the loss of materials is irrevocable and consequently, the design is now a waste as well and must be redone.

Don't wait too long...
Don't wait too long...

Our plans, God's reality
As people of God, we have a tendency to be tough and unwieldy. We are a stiff-necked people he would say of us uncooperative and unwilling to submit. God though, unlike me at the sewing machine, doesn’t shove us under the needle and make us conform, forcing the fabric of our lives to submit. My husband would say, God won't drive a parked car. He allows us to sew ourselves in to the corner by the choices we make. As a result, now that we’ve made a mess of ourselves that we can’t cover up with fancy stitches or pretty embellishments anymore, we're forced in to a place of humble submission so God can begin the process of remaking us in his image.

1 Peter 1:6–9
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.’

It’s painful being broken of ourselves; he has to tear us down one piece of our lives at a time altogether until we come back to the bare bones of who we are, exposed on the table with nothing to rely on except a God who knows exactly how the pieces go back together to form the perfect desired result.

It’s not God’s fault we’re a mess.

Let me repeat that. It's NOT God's fault we're a mess.

We did that all by ourselves without any help from God whatsoever.
When we want to go one way and God is standing in front of us pointing in another direction, when he posts signs that the path ahead is not safe, if we ignore his direction, fail to notice the signs, God will move out of the way and let us charge forward. And when we crash and burn, he's waiting for us to ask for help.

Unlike my sewing machine, God doesn’t have limitations. But he does have to work with the material we give him. God isn’t the kind of God that makes you do what you don’t want to do anymore than I can tell four layers of pleather to let my needle go through without breaking. If the material won’t yield, it won’t yield. And if we don't ask for help, he can't give it to us. Well he can, I just think he would prefer we ask for it.

God knows when we're in trouble and he sends his Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts compelling us to ask for the help he’s desperately willing to give us.

Sadly, if we won't listen, though he might speak a little louder, he won't deliver us from the mess we're in. I can't read my children's minds when they need something. But when they’re crying out I hear them and can respond. If they don’t tell me what hurts, I can’t mend it. Of course, I'm not God, who can read our minds. God does great things for us without our asking for anything. It’s because he knows our hearts that he does these things. But he's not in the business of rescuing people who don't want to be rescued.

It's a matter of the heart. You might know you need help, but if your heart's not willing, God's not going to enable you.

Revelation 3:20
Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

God is ALWAYS right on the other side of the door. He's knocking on your heart telling you that he wants to come in. But God has good manners! He's a good friend. He won't enter unless invited. So even though you might desperately need to be rescued from the mess of your life you sewed yourself in to, if you don't answer the door, he won't come in and rescue you. You can't have an open door policy with people until you're good friends.

God isn’t in the business of forcing submission. He won’t make you love him. He won’t make you say no to the junk you think you need. He won’t make you stop yelling at your spouse because he or she won’t conform either to your picture of who they're supposed to be. And he won’t make you choose him over every other god in your life. But he will wait patiently for you to decide. And if you decide otherwise, he’ll put your design off to the side until you’re either ready or make a final decision to the contrary. But it will grieve him. I hate to let go of a great design. I want more than anything to see it become a reality. It saddens me that sometimes it just won’t. No matter how much I desire it to, lovingly handle the material guiding it with a slow and patient hand, it just won’t yield to my touch. So with time I’ve wasted, the design and I must part ways, never to see it bring joy to someone else the way it was intended.

James 1:2-4
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God knows your heart. He knows if you will choose him or not. He has a beautiful plan for your life if you’ll yield to his loving touch and allow his picture of who you can be come to its full creation so you can bring that same joy to somebody else’s life. It may take some perseverance on your part as you make tough choices, but in the end, mature and complete, you won’t lack for anything in your life. As 1 Peter 1: 6-9 says:

6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.’

A final thought...

I know you have your own picture of what life is supposed to be, and it all may seem perfectly, well, perfect. I have ideas about what makes the perfect handbag, but my machine knows better!

God’s plan is always better, and I wouldn’t say this if it weren’t true. I can testify to it in my own life. And though there are things I would change, I know that God allowed me to sew myself in to a corner on countless occasions so that his faith could be perfected in me and I could share my joy with you.

John 15:11
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
Jesus said that, not me! So you can't trust it to be the truth!


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    • lone77star profile image

      Rod Martin Jr 

      6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      @mhaydock, a beautiful lesson. I have felt my own unwillingness (rebellion?) many times, but the hunger for His embrace becomes stronger with every day.

      Thank you for this stunning analogy.


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