A few months ago, I was browsing through one of my favorite thrift stores and came across a bolt of material that would be perfect for a quilt. It was the right material and the perfect colors for our bedroom. Not only that, but it was an excellent price. Praise the Lord for thrift stores!
Unfortunately, that material has been sitting in my office until earlier this week when I determined I could not wait any longer to begin making our quilt. I measured out the material, created a plan for how I wanted to design the quilt, cut out the necessary pieces then remembered that I needed to wash the material before I begin sewing. One, washing the material will take care of any fading or discoloration before I go through all the effort of making a quilt with it. Two, washing and drying the material will give me an idea of how much shrinkage I should expect, which is important when choosing a backing for the quilt.
I threw the material in the washing machine yesterday, and when I went back to transfer it to the dryer, I discovered quite a mess. The material had not faded, I am happy to say. From what I can tell, it didn't shrink much either. It did, however, unravel. . . big time! Yes, every edge was frayed, and long strands of material knotted itself into a tangled mess. I guess I should have seen it coming. After all, it was one of those types of materials.
As I thought about the material this morning, the Lord brought to my mind a verse that Jason preached on Wednesday night at church. James 1:21 says, Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. Now, you're probably wondering what in the world that has to do with my material, right? Well, it all boils down to that word "engrafted."
Engrafting is essentially the practice of adding something foreign to produce fruitfulness. For example, engrafting is used in horticulture when parts of one plant are infused with another plant in hopes of creating a healthier, more productive product. Skin graphs and bone marrow transplants are types of engrafting. It is the process where something is added to the original product in order to make it better.
As I thought about this engrafting, I realized that this is essentially what I'll be doing when I put my quilt together. The front material, while beautiful and tear resistant (think dog toenails), has a tendency to unravel at the edges. The back material does not have that problem. It's not the type of material that unravels. So, once I sew the edges of the two together, I no longer have to worry about the quilt creating a tangled mess out of its frayed edges. By engrafting the two pieces together, I am creating a better, more fruitful product: a quilt that is strong and that doesn't unravel.
In the same way, when we engraft ourselves to the Lord and to His Word, we are much less likely to unravel. Sure, we may still find ourselves tossed about in the dryer of life. After all, living the Christian life is no guarantee of a pleasant walk or a lack of troubles. It is actually quite the contrary. But the difference comes in the engrafting. You see, when the lost start to unravel, they have nothing to hold them together. We do! The Lord will bind to our frayed edges and keep us from coming completely unraveled. He will see us through whatever we may face, and He alone has the power to keep us from falling apart. . . if we are engrafted in Him.