Recently I downloaded a video game onto my phone called Tangle Master 3D. Each round begins with multi-colored pieces of intertwined rope that you have to untangle in as few moves as possible. As you navigate each level, the snarls become increasingly complex both in the number of ropes tangled and in the intricacy of the knot.
One evening while diligently focused on trying to conquer another tier, I was struck by the fact that you actually have to think two and three moves ahead of the current mess that you are facing in order untangle the entire quagmire. If you don't, you end up prolonging the game and actually making things more complicated. And that is the exact predicament I had created.
Staring at my electronic impasse and impending "game over," my mind drifted to seemingly impossible tangles, both relational and circumstantial, that I had experienced over the years. While some resolved quickly, others felt like they had taken a lifetime to untangle. My thoughts finally came to rest on present challenges... what Corrie Ten Boom calls, "snarls in your soul."
As I reflected on the latter, I couldn't help but think of some of the snarls found in Scripture. Remember the mess between Abigail, Nabal, King David, and David's army [I Samuel 25] and the drama between Esther, Mordecai, Haman, and King Artaxerxes [Esther 4-7]? How about the dangerous and awkward situations between Joseph and his brothers and Joseph and Potiphar's wife [Genesis 39]? Then there’s the disaster with Joshua, the army of Israel, and Achan [Joshua 7-8] and the standoff between Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego [Daniel 3]. The showdown with Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh [Exodus 5] came to mind as well as the injustice between Hagar, Sarai, and Abram [Genesis 16]. I imagine you can recall numerous incidents, too!
Pondering the outcome of each of those stories, it struck me that none of those tangles left God scratching His head wondering what to do. No wringing of hands, no fretting, and no muttering under His breath about how screwed up these people were. Instead, God poured out grace... a grace that is available to you and to me in the midst of our tangles. What extraordinarily good news!
Beloved, in God's relentless generosity, the wisdom of Abigail and the strategy of Esther is available to us amidst the mess and the drama. The courage of Joseph and the discernment of Joshua is accessible for that which is awkward and potentially disastrous. And, the steadfastness of Daniel, the boldness of Moses, and the counter-intuitive obedience of Hagar is offered to us in the stand-offs, in the showdowns, and in the injustice.
How is that possible? Because the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit empowers us to live and to move in the nature of Christ. Indeed, the Victorious One who asks “Is anything too difficult for Me?” is the true “Tangle Master.” (Cheesy, I know, but nonetheless).
Now, while all of that may come across like resolution is just one wispy wave of a sugar-coated fairy godmother's wand away, I am quite mindful that the process of untangling is anything but. Precious one, if you find yourself weary in the waiting and your hope is smoldering as tangles linger on, may I share a word of encouragement found in Isaiah 42:3? Listen to the description of the Father's heart toward you. "He would never crush a broken heart nor disregard the weak and vulnerable. He will make sure justice comes to those who are wronged" [TPT]. The Voice vividly portrays it this way. "What is bruised and bent, he will not break; he will not blow out a smoldering candle. Rather, he will faithfully turn his attention to doing justice." Don’t miss that last line. The Message paraphrases it with compelling reassurance. “...He’ll steadily and firmly set things right.” I truly believe that in God's intentional loving-kindness, He can faithfully, steadily, and firmly make all things beautiful in His time [Ecclesiastes 3:11].
Why not take a moment right now to breathe deeply. Allow the Lifter of your head to take your face in His hands so that your eyes can be fixed on the Shield about you [Psalm 3:3]. Pour out that which has been pent up in your heart and your mind. As songwriters, Martha Munizzi, Israel Houghton, and Meleasa Houghton invite, “Come and lay down the burdens you have carried for God is Here.”
Beloved, allow Hope to displace despair, Joy to displace sorrow, Peace to displace anxiety, and Perfect Love to displace fear. And let's watch and see what God will do.
"Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!" [Romans 15:13 TPT]. Amen.
If you need a musical springboard for faith-filled vocabulary, this simple song by Martha Munizzi has been helpful in my own faith journey. God Has a Way.
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Lastly, if you are interested in a little more insight about Abigail, Nabal, and David, check out another blog entry called, Someone Else's Mess.