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A Ball of Yarn
by Fred Pruitt

Dear Fred,

I'm writing you because I know you won't put up with any of my
self-pitying-crap and will speak the truth to me.

The other night I completely lost it after spending 4 hours trying to
de-tangle a ball of yarn. The dog left me first, then my son, then my wife.
No one wanted to be around my ranting and raving. I was so angry that I
experienced tightness in my chest for the first time. A heart attack over
yarn? Go figure. The next morning I tried for another hour to defeat my foe
only to have it win out in the end. We don't wrestle with flesh and blood. I
wrestled with yarn. I wrestled with myself. I wrestled with Christ, or
maybe, Christ wrestled me.

Defeated by my own tangled mess, I only saw my arriogance and pride bound up
by the yarn. I hate the way I acted and act. My pre-occupation with self
seems endless. Is that what Jacob ulitmately realized after his night of
wrestling or being wrestled with? Did he finally see himself as he was in
all of his scheming, lying, and betrayal and press the angel for a blessing
that would transform him? A changed name, a dislocated hip, and a meeting
with God?

Am I holding on to a belief that somehow I will really be different in my
earthly nature vs. holding on to the spiritual birth that has taken place
not because of my will or the will of any one but God? And is giving up that
belief and resting only in the stone that hasn't been touched by human
hands, the leap of faith that now presents itself? (I'd say final leap of
faith, but the truth is each leap is final in and of itself.) Is it
accepting what has forever been unacceptable in my mind and proclaiming that
my name has been changed even though my body remains the same, even worse,
crippled permanently, and this by His will?

Any words of wisdom to a limping traveler?



from Fred

Dear _____,

A ball of yarn, eh? Kind of like "An itty bitty tear let me down ... spoiled my act as a clown ..." ??

Do you remember the Wendy's commercial from years ago, with the old lady taking the crown off a hamburger bun and saying, "Where's the beef?"

My question is, "Where's the sin?"

You got angry, yes. You hated it, too, and maybe everybody else hated it. But if we have faith that God is operating our lives only when we are pleasing to ourselves and others then that's not much faith, is it?

Paul said, "If I am beside myself, it's to God."

If we say God is All in the all, in ourselves, then where is there room for some unruly "earthly nature?" Does He not "rule" all things? Have you not been translated from darkness to light? Are you not complete in Him, blameless, unreproveable? Doesn't the scripture say, "Heaven AND earth [you] are full of thy glory"? Have not your "members" (your earthly nature as you call it) been made now instruments (tools) of righteousness and we as SLAVES of righteousness?

If you can only say "this is Christ in me" when it's all hunky-dory and everybody is nice and polite and grinning from ear to ear, then you need to do a lot more work and trying to be better. Keep on trying with all your might. Let me know when you arrive.

Can't make yourself different, though, can you?

I have parts of my life where I don't like my emotional reactions. Every time, pretty much, I get into certain situations I feel the same way, and I want ever so much to be different, and to change myself, so that I can "like" how I look and feel and what I do. But I can't. God won't let it happen. Every time I have to give it to the Father and say this is Christ being Himself in me.

Jesus cursed a fig tree because it didn't have some fruit when he wanted it, insulted a Greek-Syrophoenecian woman (called her and all non-Jews, "dogs"), got REALLY angry and made a whip of cords and turned over tables in a fit of rage (or do you think he was Mr. Serene and Calm when He was doing that?) to drive the moneychangers from the temple, and more than once in frustration complained rather self-indulgently about folks' lack of faith, "O how long to I have to bear with you people?!"

And yet He said, BOLDLY, "the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works," and the kicker, that made them REALLY mad, "I ALWAYS do those things that please Him." ALWAYS!

How? By how he looked or felt? No, by faith, walking in righteous judgment, not "judging by appearance."

Your situation reminds me of the storm raging on the sea and the disciples quaking in fear because of the wind and waves and Jesus unconcernedly sleeping in the back of the boat. You'd think if it was so bad He would have awakened. But in their fear they woke Him, saying, "Wake up Master, we're going to DIE!!!" and His reply (like so many other times) is, "O ye of little faith, why do you fear?" And then he rebuked the winds and the sea.

Is the point calming the winds and the sea, or is it resting unconcernedly in the back of the boat? The implication I get is that even though the winds and the sea are tossing back and forth, and hope is dim, and whether the storm is calm or not, in the center of the storm (sent by guess Who?), Jesus is at rest in the peace of God. Dwelling in God, let the storms come. Let them rage.

It doesn't matter, because the Father is as much in the waves and the wind as He is in the Master sleeping in the back of the boat -- AND -- in the tossing to & fro of the disciples in fear. And you are Jesus sleeping in the back of the boat, as well as the disciples quaking in fear.

Hebrews says, "Let us come boldly before the throne of grace."

Two words stand out in that for me. The first is "boldly." How can we approach God if we are not completely clean? To approach God BOLDLY is to go in without shame, with our heads high, with no spot of ANYTHING that keeps us from Him. The priests in the temple had to keep themselves ceremonially clean to perform their ministry, which is a type for us who are now priests who have been cleansed, once for all, in the blood of Christ. And having been cleansed wholly, with no spot left untouched, we are not like the children of Israel under Joshua who had to take the land and drive out the Canaanites piece by piece, but we have another Joshua who has already completely taken the land, so that it is WHOLLY ours, right now, TODAY, because He is the Lamb without spot or wrinkle, and our boldness is to come before God in that same spirit, we also without SPOT OR WRINKLE. The second word that stands out is "grace." This is more than "unmerited favor," but rather the holy power of God present in us to will and to do of HIS GOOD PLEASURE.

It's not for us to figure out how that will be or look to ourselves or anyone else, including our dog, but only to be believing and standing in faith. So get angry with your ball of yarn, run everybody off, but be Christ doing it!