Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"His Best"

(One of my alltime favorite illustrations.)

The woman's orientation at the textile mill concluded with her manager counseling, "The most important thing I must stress  as you begin to operate your loom tomorrow is that you not attempt to untangle any knots yourself.  If the threads tangle, even to the slightest degree, call me."

     The next day, things went well for the first few hours.  The loom almost seemed to run itself, and the woman found herself enjoying the beauty of seeing material appear, as if by magic.  Just before her lunch break, however, a small tangle caused the new employee's machine to automatically shut down.  She examined the problem, determining that a mere two threads seemed to cause the glitch.  Remembering her manager's admonition, she hesitated to attempt a fix.  The more she looked at the tangle, however, the more a simple solution seemed to present itself.  She hated the idea of seeking help for what seemed to be so minor a challenge.  "I want to do my best," the woman thought to herself.  Reaching into the spools, she therefore parted the tangled threads, only to be startled as the machine automatically restarted.  Advancing more thread into the spot where the problem had existed, a weave of wayward strands intertwined not magically as before, but disastrously.  Within seconds, the loom began to vibrate, making a terrible and almost shrieking noise.  This brought the manager onto the scene, appearing from what seemed like nowhere.  He quickly flipped several switches, shutting the machine down, and began to work on the knotted mess of threads.

    The manager finished the repair quickly, but to the woman it seemed an eternity.  With the last thread untangled, he restarted the loom, which again began to hum smoothly and produce material magically.  Turning to the woman, he found her in tears.  "Everything's fine, my dear," said the kindly man.  "The loom is working again, and I'm sure you've learn a valuable lesson, haven't you?"  The woman looked at her supervisor through tears and quietly responded, "Yes sir.  And I'm so sorry.  I just... I just wanted to do my best!"  The manager paused for a moment before his reply, then looked the woman directly in the eyes.  "Doing your best, my dear, would have been calling me."

    "Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Amid the tangles of our lives, as it were, the Word of God and the Spirit of God unite to beckon our hearts.  "Call Me."  How tempted we are, however, to apply our own hands to knots beyond our capacity to unravel.  As a last resort rather than a first response, we finally approach our Heavenly Father when our own understanding and effort leads to no avail at best, and to tangled disaster at worst.  Thankfully, He is patient and longsuffering.  If we could hear Him audibly, He would likely remind us that our best always begins with an approach to the throne of grace.  "Call unto Me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3).  Indeed, we require His best rather than our own.

   One suspects the woman in our story never again attempted to unravel the knots of her loom.  Would that we might learn so quickly regarding the knots of our lives.  It doesn't work that way, however, as doubtless we would all acknowledge that many episodes of "our best" lead us at the end to seek "His best."  May we learn from them all, and may we more and more remember the blessed command and its inherent promise of wisdom, enabling, provision and solution... "Call Me."

"In the day of my trouble, I will call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me."
(Psalm 86:7)


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