2 Corinthians 6:9-10 – The world ignores us, but we are known to God; we live close to death, but here we are, still very much alive. We have been injured but kept from death. Our hearts ache, but at the same time we have the joy of the Lord. We are poor, but we give rich spiritual gifts to others. We own nothing, and yet we enjoy everything. (TLB)
It was brand new, and what a vibrant colour! I was so pleased and couldn't wait to wear it, although afterwards, I wished that I hadn't. It happened as I was walking down the driveway to feed the horses. The exuberant pup, dashing about like a wild thing, seemed to think that it would be great fun to leap up behind me and grab me by the shirt, which she did, and presto, those sharp, little, needle-like teeth sliced through the soft fabric of my sweater like a hot knife through butter. I was not only dismayed but also very angry, as I believed the pullover to be ruined, after only ten minutes of wear.
Once I had settled down, however, I re-examined the tear and decided to see if I could mend it, as my sewing machine has a mending stitch on it, which has proved useful in the past. Fortunately, I found an exact thread match for the fabric colour and then carefully lined up the torn edges and began to sew. To my delight, when I was finished, the tear was hardly noticeable. The mending stitch also strengthened the material in the process.
In today's Scripture, the apostle Paul is sharing with the Corinthians some episodes when he has felt ripped and torn by those who are unhappy with the message of Christ which he has shared with them. And yet, amidst these episodes, God has mended and strengthened both him and those who are working side by side with him to spread the gospel. They have been injured but kept from death; their hearts ache, but at the same time, they have the joy of the Lord. They are poor but are blessed with rich spiritual gifts to give to others, and they have learned to enjoy everything. This is what it is like to belong to Christ. Though the world takes its toll upon us, though we are ripped and torn, the mending stitch of God's love and power is able to take those rough and wounded edges of our lives and sew them back together, making us not only whole again, but stronger because of it.
So let us not despair when pain and suffering leap up from behind upon us, slicing through our spirit like a hot knife through butter. Rather, let us calm ourselves, examine the damage, and lift it up in prayer to our heavenly Father, whose mending stitch has the power to heal, restore, and strengthen.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You are the Great Physician, the One Who is able to mend and restore the rips and tears that we suffer at the hands of this world and one another. Bless us this day with the hope and faith necessary to be calm when calamity strikes, that we might offer our discouragement and pain into Your patient hands and receive Your heavenly mending. In Christ's name, we ask. Amen.
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