Written by His Grace,
Kevin K. O’Connor
Mar. 1st 2003
Main Thought: To explore the beauty of being pliable
The Beauty of Being Pliable
Isaiah 64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Whole Chapter: Isaiah 64 In context: Isaiah 64:7-9)
I heard an old story about a mighty oak tree and a stand of reeds along a river. This mighty oak and stand of reeds had seen many storms come and go and weathered them all. But this one particular fall day a storm bigger than anyone had ever seen hit and afterwards the mighty oak lay floating down the stream. He looked over at the reeds that were now gently swaying in the breeze of a brand new calm day and asked; “How is it that both you and I had weathered so many storms together and now I lay here torn from the ground that I was so deeply rooted?” and the reeds reply was “while you tried to harden yourself against every storm that had come our way, we were learning how to bend with the wind and so when this largest of all storms had hit we were able to easily bend with the wind and thus avoid being uprooted from our foundation.”
It seems that we all enjoy things and people that are both strong and yet also pliable. We rejoice at the fact that although one may be in the position of power and authority to bring a harsh judgment, can also have mercy. We enjoy wearing something that is as durable as leather but also as supple. Toughness with gentleness is a beautiful trait that most of us enjoy. It seems like those who know how to let go of those things in this life that hurt so deeply are able to allow the trial of their pain to produce growth within their lives.
Many times though those who by all outward appearances appear to be weathering their trial quite well will suddenly break with terrible consequences. We truly do need to learn how to grow within the characteristic of being pliable. It seems that just about the time all is going along smoothly life has a way of throwing us a curve ball. We need to learn how to bend in the wind before the trials of this life and surrender our hearts, hopes and dreams to the One from whom we exist. This life is not our home and if we can keep that clear in our hearts, it helps. May God ever help us focus not on our trials that sometime consume us but instead focus through those trials to His heart.
I’m so glad that we have a Savior who can sympathize with us amidst our many aches and pains; For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) I’m so very grateful for those examples our Lord has left us in His Precious Living Word that give us encouragement and the wherewithal to keep going. One of the greatest examples of one whose life was going along smoothly and had a major disruption in it is our precious brother Job who loved honoring the Lord with his life and the physical blessings that God delighted in giving him. And yet there came a day when our beloved brother Job was going to experience much pain of heart and yet He looked beyond the pain and saw that the Father’s Heart knew best even amidst his own pain and suffering; Job 1:6-22 6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD , and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD , "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." 9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face." 12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. 13 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" 16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" 17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" 18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!" 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job was able to keep in the proper perspective not only his blessings but also the very breath of life he breathed. There is a beauty in the way our Lord has us walk this walk here below. This walk of faith has a way of developing a deeper and closer walk near to His heart for we learn that His ways are not ours and we learn to trust in His guidance. I like the way the Lord describes His Word to us in the book of Psalms; Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) There were reasons why the Lord closed off 2/3rd of our minds and why we don’t see more of the future than what He has chosen to reveal. And although we don’t like surprises, they definitely do teach us to depend on His ability to provide and care for us. Luke 12:26-28 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Isn’t it beautiful how He speaks to us? It seems that we begin to see His counsel more clearly after we’ve gone down the road of this life a while. The hindsight that we grow into seems always to be 20/20 and thus allow us to see more clearly how to guide our children so that they can avoid the trouble that awaits them in the paths of life. And then if they begin to go down those same paths that caused us so much pain, our hearts begin to ache. And, just as we hope that our kids would trust what we’re telling them so that they can avoid much heartache and pain, so our Loving Heavenly Father desires us to trust His Word He speaks into our hearts. Usually we see because of hindsight and yet God sees all things and desires us to avoid much heartache by learning how to trust His Everlasting Loving Arms.
And when it comes to learning how to stand strong, we can, but not of our own strength or self-determination. I like the verse in Zechariah 4:6 which states So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. (Whole Chapter: Zechariah 4 In context: Zechariah 4:5-7) So then, our victory will come not through self-determination like the mighty oak trying to resist the storms, but through learning how to bend under the Almighty Hand of God who desires to see our pride laid on the altar of His beloved Son Who gave His all for us. John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (Whole Chapter: John 12 In context: John 12:23-25) Another Word from His Heart that depicts how we are to be pliable before Him so that He may make something beautiful out of our lives is in Matthew 21 verse 44 which states; Matthew 21:44 He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed."[ 21:44 Some manuscripts do not have verse 44.] (Whole Chapter: Matthew 21 In context: Matthew 21:43-45) and also in 1 Peter 5:5-7 which states 1 Peter 55Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. And one more is in Matthew 10:39 which states; Matthew 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Whole Chapter: Matthew 10 In context: Matthew 10:38-40)
Our natural instinct is for us to live, not to die. But, in order for us to truly live, we need to learn how to entrust our lives into His Hands. That trust in His Power and Grace to save us will only come through applying our hearts to what He speaks to us. May we ever learn by His Grace, how to fall on the Rock of His Son so that that the ways of our foul pride can die and He may transform us into the Glorious image of Jesus Christ the King of kings and Lord of lords for His Glory, Honor, and Praise. Thus, when the final storm of this life of death comes calling for us, we may be left standing in His Glorious Loving embrace for all eternity.
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