Untangling the Mess

A small portion of the sky during Kite Day in Kosice.
A small portion of the sky during Kite Day in Kosice.

A couple of weeks ago, on a sunny fall afternoon, I found myself in the middle of a grassy field on the outskirts of Kosice. I wasn’t alone – I was surrounded by hundreds of children and parents, all in various stages of flying kites.  Excitement was in the air, even if most of the kites weren’t… sadly, the wind was coming and going, not the steady breeze we’re used to on this hilltop on October afternoons. For five minutes or so, the wind would be still – everyone would wait, expectantly holding the kites and the lines taut. Then we’d feel a breeze, feel a small tug on the line… and then suddenly, hundreds of kites would take to the air.

Except that quite a few times, while most of the kites were in the air, a few of us remained grounded. Not because of the wind, but because of the string.

Isn’t it amazing how twisted and knotted a kite string can become? One moment you have a perfectly knot-free string. Then something happens, and within only a couple of seconds you’re staring at a tangled mess. That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. It’s a good thing we had more than one kite with us, because I’m pretty sure I spent more time untangling string than I did flying a kite. A couple of times I was tempted to just cut the string and retie it, but for some reason I was determined this little piece of nylon wasn’t going to defeat me!

As I sat and untangled, I thought about my own kite days as a kid, taking to the fields with parents or teachers and fellow students. The kites haven’t changed much, and inevitably I’d end up with a tangled mess of string.  I’d take it to my parents or a teacher, expecting them to fix my mess so I could get back to soaring…

And I remember thinking then, “How in the world will that ever come untangled? That string will never be straight again. Surely it’s just better to cut out the mess, tie a little knot and start over!” And I’d be amazed how, after a few minutes of watching the grown-up patiently pulling and untwisting, suddenly the knot was gone. At the time I was so eager to get my kite back in the air that I didn’t appreciate the small miracle of patience that had taken place. These days, I appreciate it all too well!

There are so many times when this world seems so tangled that I can’t imagine how it can be salvaged. No matter how much technology and medicine improves, there’s always some new virus, natural disaster or other obstacle to progress. And even with the best of situations, the evil in the hearts of human beings can sometimes twist and tangle even our best-intended actions.

God’s promised that one day things will be made right, but it’s hard to believe sometimes. I look at the state of things and I think, “How in the world will that ever be made right? It can’t ever be fixed, surely it’s just better to wipe it all out and start from scratch.” I simply can’t imagine how this tangled mess could ever come untangled.

But God can.

With the patience of a parent, God is unraveling the mess we’ve made. Even though we can’t imagine how it will be made right, I believe that one day it will. I believe God is capable of redeeming anything, anyone, any twisted situation. I don’t think God’s going to cut the string and tie a new knot. I honestly believe that when the end comes, we’ll be able to look back and we’ll think, “So THAT’S how he did it!” And we’ll be amazed to look back and see how God was working all along.

The question is: Where are we, you and I? Are we working alongside the Master, doing our best to untangle and make things straight? Or are we twisting and turning and adding to the knot?

One thought on “Untangling the Mess

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  1. That is a powerful message deserving a few re-reads. Just printed it to share with others. At Tabermacle B.C. in Richmond we’ve been on a journey with the Israelites, remembering the many times they strayed off the road and God had to help them “untangle” the twisted messes. So glad you keep sharing your thoughts with us.

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