Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: WAIT (08/30/18)
TITLE: Gaining New Strength
By Jude Harris
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Later, with my hands in soapy dishwater, God nudged me with a verse in Isaiah, reminding me of His promised new strength if we waited on Him. I put the last dish away, hung up my apron, and sat on the porch swing to study the scripture, Isaiah 40:31.
"Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary."
Waiting felt so helpless. I doubted it could give me new strength. But I began my study by looking up the Hebrew meaning behind the words.
The key word for "wait for" is the Hebrew word, QAVAH, an active verb, meaning to wait, collect, expect and hope for. But its root meaning means to twist or wind a strand of cord or rope. The editors mentioned uncertainty for how twisting and winding related to hope.
“Look at this Hebrew word for 'wait for,” I told my husband that evening. “The editors say they don’t understand how the root meaning of twisting and winding relates to hope. If they’re stumped, how will I understand this Scripture?”
He thought for a moment. “Hm. It’s like making cotton thread,” he said. “Remember when I used to audit the cotton mills in Tennessee? They took the fibers from the cotton balls and fed them to a 'leader,' a thread in the machine. The cotton fibers twisted and wound around the leader thread, making it into a spool of strong cotton thread.”
“How interesting!” I thought of my mom’s spinning wheel she’d used as decor in our living room. “I wonder how a craftsman makes yarn on a spinning wheel,” I said.
After a short search, I found a spinner in my city who volunteered to show me her craft. I met her that week in her sunlit studio. Natural and dyed skeins of yarns lined her shelves. She showed me examples of her work, a gray and red sweater, and a few scarfs. Then she sat on a stool in front of the spinning wheel to demonstrate how the wool becomes yarn.
“Most spinners comb the wool before they spin it,” she told me. “It makes it easier to separate the fibers into strands before they're fed onto the spinning wheel.”
Her foot steadily pumped a foot pedal turning the wheel. As the wheel whirled, she fed the fibers of wool to the leader yarn, where it wound around the yarn to reinforce it. This spun cord then wrapped around a bobbin.
“When two bobbins are full, I feed them simultaneously back to the wheel. The cords twist around each other, making a stronger cord of yarn," she explained.
I watched her rhythmically pump the foot pedal. “You look so relaxed,” I said.
“I am. It’s very meditative,” she replied.
I left that afternoon with some sky-blue wool and instructions for knitting a scarf. But I also had a new understanding of hope. Just like the wool fibers reinforced the yarn for strength, so too, as we feed the truths of the gospel to our spirit, we gain new strength. As the spinner relaxed into a meditative state, while spinning, we too are at rest as we meditate on who Jesus is, while actively receiving His grace.
“How the twisting and winding represent hope makes sense now, but what about the breakthrough?” I asked my husband. “After the new strength, it says we will mount up with wings like eagles.”
“Jesus is your rock, your mountain,” he said. “Remember last time I went para-gliding? When I glided over the ocean I kept losing altitude. But as I neared the mountain, I caught an updraft. I soared with the seagulls!” He exclaimed. “As long as I stayed close to the mountain, I had wings.”
“God has designed our wait for him to be very empowering,” I said. I winked at my husband. “Did you feel that? I think I feel an updraft!”
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