I’d been watching my wife do some clothing repairs for our grandchildren. Reminded me of those years, now long gone, when she was seamstress and tailor for me and our children. It may sound strange, but I don’t think it’s out of order when I tell you how her knitting and sewing reminded me of God. He is both the mender of lives and the one who knits. The Lord has the amazing ability to create garments of beauty out of the ashes of a person’s life. Isaiah wrote of how Yahweh would weave a garment of praise out of the ashes of a burnt out life (Isaiah 61:3). Jesus quoted the prophet in the Nazareth synagogue at the commencement of His ministry (Luke 4:17).
This was beautifully highlighted in the testimony of a man I once heard as well as many other testimony also. In his own words he was previously a hopeless case. Family, friends and community workers had written him off as beyond help, the burnt out wreck of an abused childhood and destructive choices. I have to confess I was in tears as he spoke. He gave the glory to the Lord and was thankful that Jesus had men and women at Christian Drop-In centres. They cared for him and shared the good news of Christ's love. It took time for him to realise how the Almighty could knit a new life out of the ashes of his old one. One day he came to desperation point and cried out unreservedly for Jesus to save him, and change him. It happened! When he said that with the tears of gratitude in his eyes and words, I felt like standing up and cheering! The change in him was proven over time. It took a period of time for the knitting process of God takes place. He weaves the grey and black ashes of a person's life with the gold and rainbow colours of grace, mercy and praise.
It’s an unending delight to come across men and women who wear Christ Jesus' unique designer garments. He is certainly not into mass production of clones whose stories are all the same. The Holy Spirit makes the clothes exclusively out of their own ashes and combines them with the glory of Christ Jesus. The only requirement for this is for a person to hand his or her life over to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Friends and acquaintances understand God's knitting prowess when they see the wearer showing and declaring God's garment of praise.
I find there is a tendency in my heart, and I hear the same from others, to compare the Lord's knitting. My ashes were not anywhere near as dramatic or complex as the man’s I heard talk, or others I've known. I’m glad about that by the way. We all have our own stories, dreams and nightmares mixed in with the ashes of sin, failures, and indifference to God. Our stories are each unique. However, the Holy Spirit has the power and skill through the Cross of Christ to make us beautiful before the Lord God. He give us the garment of praise, individually fitted, to wear on the ‘catwalks’ of life . It is there we each bear testimony to our Lord's saving grace. Of course there is more, much more woven into the garment He knitted and placed in and over our heart. Righteousness, Truth, Worship, Steadfastness and others are all threads of Christ's saving power.
The beauty of what the Lord knits is that it never fades or wears out. In fact, the more it is worn and shown in everyday living the more it glows. That garment of praise is designed to go with any other outfit you or I are called to wear. It means when I’m wearing my servant clothes, prayer shawl, hospital dress, sporting gear or being in the ‘witness box’ I will bring Him praise either vocally or by my bearing.
Ray Hawkins. Oct. 31st 2016.