Hanging On – Part 2

Are we living up to God’s plan for His body? What is His plan for His body? Are we all heart? Are we all head?

I believe a spider web exemplifies the body of Christ. A spider web is both beautiful and useful, but also very complex. The spider’s silk has the unique ability to become softer or stiffer depending on the stress the web receives. It is not stagnant but active. God so designed the spider’s web that when one strand breaks, the strength of the entire web actually increases.

God desires the same for His church. There are times when a situation requires softness and the “web” needs to reach out and actively demonstrate that attribute. In contrast, sometimes the body needs to show stiffness and resolve, so rushing to the rescue might not be the best answer.

People who are hurting need to have the unmitigated freedom to express their pain, confusion, uncertainty, or despair without feeling judged or that they are asking you to solve the problem. Sometimes they just need to talk.

Other times they may need stiffness in order to learn to stand on their own with God. Suppose He preferred to minister directly to that person?

Unfortunately, I usually struggle initially when the Lord asks me to allow part of His web to be broken for a season. I have discovered though, that the Lord is more than able to fill in the seemingly missing component when I step out of the way.

This does not mean that the rest of the “web” stands by with a complacent attitude. Just like the spider web, when one part is damaged the rest of the “web” needs to strengthen to compensate. Strengthening the “web” could be by prayer, fasting, an encouraging phone call, a meal or whatever the Lord puts on your heart. It may not always require well intentioned advice.

Over the years I have had the privilege to be the recipient of mercy and resolve from the body of Christ. Softness and stiffness …both are equally necessary in the body just as in the web. As members of His body we need to allow the Lord either option.

~ Marianne

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5 responses

  1. The spider web is a wonderful metaphor, Jim. I’m wondering … when the church has been damaged by clergy sexual abuse without even knowing it’s been damaged (because the leaders won’t allow disclosure), what happens then? My family and I so need the rest of that web to be strong and compensate for this particular horrific brokenness, but part of what’s broken is my “voice.” How can we receive love and mercy from our body when leadership won’t allow us to ask for it because of their own sins? For us, the church is a web of another kind – one of the kinds that hits you smack in the face in the dark when there’s not enough light out. How I would love to know the other kind – the true kind.

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    • I am so sorry to hear that you have been damaged and that the body of Christ is not allowing their strength to strengthen you. Sadly, the church does not always follow the designer’s plan. Perhaps hanging onto your dragline that is securely fixed to the Lord (that I mentioned in the first Hanging On) will be your lifeline. You might feel like you are swinging in the wind, but I know that the Lord himself will never let you go.

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  2. Lovely advice to a well-asked question. From experience in a situation like this I can say in hindsight that the Lord totally understands the scenario of genuine questions being squashed and swept under the carpet because of leadership’s preconceptions and judgements (based on appearances and assumptions).
    In cases like these the personal dragline does still hold, even if we can’t see it or feel it – it is still there, and eventually true light will dawn and heal

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