Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Broken Shoestring

I broke a shoestring this morning while I was putting on my everyday shoes. I don't suppose that will make the headlines in the papers or become the latest in viral videos. I can see it now, me sitting on the chest, picking up my shoe, putting it on my foot, pulling the shoestrings tight and then, "BAM, CRACK!" there it goes, The shoestring breaks off in my hand. My foot flies one way, the string flies another and I go rolling off onto the floor. Video shows the aftermath of the event and everyone watching, those millions of viewers, all say, "What? I wasted my time on this?" No, actually it broke. I looked at it in my hand, got up and got the new shoestrings out of the drawer. Then I took the old laces out and put the new ones in. Boring! Yep. Most mundane events like that are just that - boring.

But it got me thinking. Shoestrings. We rely on them daily. We tie and untie them countless times. We put our shoes on, tie them and off we go. Most of the time we don't even think about it. It just happens. That is the way it goes.

Then I started thinking (dangerous, I know, but it happens) about two things: 1) life and 2) faith. Life is much like the shoestring. It seems so sure and certain. It appears that life will go on and on without any problems. Oh, it might get frayed a little. It might look rough after a while, but it still continue. Shoestrings just keep going. They are used day after day without much thought. Life just keeps going. It goes day after day without much thought. And then "CRACK!" something happens. The shoestring breaks. Life suddenly becomes fragile.

Sickness. Weakness. Doctor visits. Tests. More tests. Unknown problems. Hospital stays. Surgeries. Treatments. More doctor visits. And it goes on. Or perhaps it is much more of a "CRACK!" than that. Perhaps it is that one moment you are there, the next you aren't. Death comes quickly. Broken shoestring, broken life, shoestring meant to be thrown away, a life ended in a casket, visitation, funeral. When it happens you cannot stop it. I can will that the shoestring didn't break but it still did. I cannot put it back together. It is broken. Throw it away. I can will that the life didn't become filled with illness or death, but I cannot change it. I cannot make it better. I cannot make the death go away. It is final, complete, unchangeable.

That is where the second thought comes in - faith. Faith is that which we take for granted as well. It is there in our hearts, our minds and our lives. We hold onto it, think about it occasionally. Even let it guide us at times, but much like our shoestrings, we don't really let it be a part of our daily lives that we even think about. We get up, say our prayers, read our Bible and go about our day, just like putting on shoes and socks - tieing the laces and not even letting it make a difference for our lives.

Until - life breaks. Then we suddenly realize how much we need our faith. Someone gets ill. We pray and call upon the name of the Lord. Someone is in surgery, we lift them up to the Lord. Someone dies, and we realize how important that faith truly is for our lives. We cling to our Lord. We trust in our Lord. We follow our Lord. We rely upon our Lord. Faith is at the heart and center of our daily lives as we go through that time of trial, tribulation and struggles. Broken laces, broken lives - faith binds them together and gets us through the moment.

And then we put in the new laces, think about them for a time or two and off we go with our lives. We forget about them again for a while. So it goes with our lives. The brokenness fades into the background. The pain subsides. And we go on with our lives.  We have to. We have no choice. But the one thing that remains - Faith. Faith in Christ Jesus. Faith in the One who brings us through each and every struggle and pain. Faith in our Lord that has given Himself for us. Faith in the One that leads us through our days, binding up our wounds, healing our hearts, giving us life, putting the smile back on our faces and telling us, "I am with you always."

A broken shoestring and a lesson in life and faith - it has been a good morning.

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