In our church, we talk a lot about being stretched, allowing God to use you in new ways or expanding the territory of your influence. It gets compared a lot to a rubber band. A simple little rubber band can take on the shape of lots of things. It can assist in holding stuff together or keeping something organized. Personally I feel a lot more like a paperclip. I have been programmed into thinking, acting, or believing a certain way. I can change my shape, but then I look funny and I really am not that useful anymore. Even if I try to bend back, my original shape can never be quite achieved again.
I think I’ve also been more like a binder clip at times. I can hold stuff together with a death grip that will pinch the fire out of you if not used properly. I wonder how many times I’ve pinched someone who may have only been trying to help me.
No matter what office supply you feel more like, the great news is that God loves you just as much either way. There is nothing we can add to our lives, take away, do or say that can separate us from His love.
Psalm 103:6-18 (The Message)
God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud. Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom, But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here. God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.
None of us are worthy of Jesus’ death, after all this passage speaks to God keeping in mind that we’re just made of mud (rubber band, paper clip, etc). He doesn’t treat us how we deserve to be treated. If so, there would be no hope for anyone to spend eternity with Him. God is not looking to punish any of us. If that were the case that would be all He could ever do! Instead He is always showing us His mercy, His favor and His love. Most of the time we either ignore it, overlook it, dismiss it or buzz right by it in our busy lives.
He loves us enough to be gentle when we need it and a little more raw when that is what it takes to get our attention. These scriptures also remind us that our faith has an effect on the generations after us. Society is so focused on doing whatever you need to be happy. As long as you are not hurting anyone it’s ok. This is such a tragic trap we have fallen into. The next time you are out in public, try smiling at a stranger and see what happens. Most of the time they will smile back. If we can have that kind of effect without speaking a word to someone we don’t even know, what greater investment we must make into the lives in our legacy.
I, for one, am glad that God loves me, a small little piece of metal that gets a little bent out of shape sometimes, but really wants to keep changing.