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Making "This" Work - By Pastor Thomas Engel

Who owns a pair of perfectly fitting jeans? As I understand, jeans from off the shelf don’t ever fit just right.

I have seen a commercial for a company that has you take several pictures of yourself and submit them. Using high tech technology, they can take exact measurements from those pictures.

I would think especially that they have you take some different angles of your bottom since that is where look and comfort are key when it comes to wearing jeans.

Maybe I should be fussier about how my clothes fit. When I go to buy clothes, I look for the tag that shows the size that I have been wearing and throw the shirt or sweater into the cart. I don’t even bother to go to try anything on in the fitting room.

It seems that my pants fit okay, but I might be wrong. Maybe you have been all thinking but are too nice to say, “Pastor, when are you expecting a flood?”

Most of my shirts don’t fit just right. Usually, the sleeves are too long or too short, and I have too much or not enough to tuck in.

Years ago, I had a tailored suit, but with just adding a few extra pounds around my middle, I couldn’t wear the suit that once was a perfect fit.

Perfect fits are nice to have and not only in clothes. I like my coffee a certain way-strong but not too bitter. Every morning, I try to make the perfect cup of coffee.

For over three years now, I have lived in the house, and I’m still rearranging my plants, so they look decorative, but they still get the most sun.

How much of life is trying to get things and situations to fit just right, so we feel comfortable and secure?

When life is going well, we are more confident that we are living out our true purpose and meaning.

We have our carts all arranged perfectly, and we are motivated to move forward, but the carts get upset. They get upset because that is what carts do. When we are pushing our carts, we are going to run over some bumps.

Bumps can sure get frustrating, and they can even get us discouraged if they upset our carts too much. If they get to the point of tipping them over, we can fall in despair.

I mean we work so hard to get our carts all arranged just like we want them, and with one big bump, all is upset.

Or maybe we can look at how we fit in the circumstances of life by different geometric shapes.

In the preschool room, there is a learning game that teaches about shapes like triangles and rectangles. The game has objects of different shapes and a box with cut-outs of the shapes. The student is to put the object that she is holding let’s say a star-shaped piece-into its correct slot on the box.

Geometry is not my favorite subject, and maybe I would do better in life if I knew more about triangles and rectangles.

Many times, I am struggling in life because I feel like a square peg trying to go into a round hole.

A professor lecturing on moral philosophy actually did use the preschool learning game in his lecture to talk about the perplexities of life.

The learning game is simple, for most children catch on to it rather quickly. But when talking about making the pieces of life fit into their proper places, everything gets complicated.

Life can be so odd, at times, that not one thing seems to go right. Nothing seems to fit.

A saying I hear often is, “It is what it is.”

I googled the saying, and what it means is that when we are going through a difficult situation, we accept that situation although we don’t understand all that is happening.

You are on a tight budget, but your rent gets bumped up, again. “It is what it is.”

You just buy a new car, and you return to the parking lot after grocery shopping and see a huge dent caused by a cart. After some expletives go through your mind, you say, “It is what it is.”

What is your latest situation that is causing you to say, “It is what it is?”

We do like to know our meaning and purpose, but we don’t know always specifically what the purpose and meaning of our situations are.

Again, we are going through a situation that is difficult, and we have to admit that we just don’t understand everything about it. We ask questions like, “Why is this so difficult? How long is this going to last? What do I need to do to get this over with?”

The answer to all of those questions could be, “Hey, toughen up, and just deal with it.”

When going through a hard time, I do want to know specifics. If I am putting a lot of effort in trying to get through something, I want to know that some kind of awesome outcome is waiting for me.

But in the depth of some hard time, it’s difficult to believe or imagine that a light is at the end of the tunnel. Some hard times seem just to be dark tunnels that go on forever.

Whenever I hear, “It is what it is,” I think of Isaiah 55, where it talks about how God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts.

I am not sure if saying, “It is what it is” or even “God’s ways and thoughts are above my ways and thoughts” is all that comforting.

Looking at Isaiah 55, it’s all about God’s Law. As sinful humans, we can never reach God’s ways and thoughts.

Sin never works. Going to back the analogy of square pegs trying to fit into round holes, we can see how it describes sinful humans trying to make it work in this world.

This chaotic world sadly provides too many illustrations of square pegs trying to fit into round holes. Nothing seems to be working with so much conflict in the world in these days.

I also googled the phrase about square pegs and round holes, and I saw something about the time before power tools-builders actually pounded square pegs into round holes.

This kind of construction was very strong. But as you can imagine, it took a lot of heavy pounding that caused a lot of splintering of wood to take place to make this happen, but the result was a very strong joint.

Could we say that Jesus was a square peg that fit into a round hole? When he walked the earth, he was rejected by many people. The rejection was so extreme that these people wanted him to die.

These people got their way, and Jesus did die a painful death on the cross. But it was not for the punishment for treason against the Roman government as they falsely charged.

The religious leaders had their thoughts and ways about Jesus, but God had His thoughts and ways about bringing sinful people back to Himself.

As a just God who knows that sin needs to be punished, God sent His Son, Jesus, to go to the cross to take the punishment for the sins of the world.

If we see how a square peg needs to be subject to force to fit into a round hole, Jesus suffered a horrible death on the cross, so we can fit with God-or in other words-we are now perfectly right with God because of the work of Jesus on the cross.

Going back to how the verses in Isaiah 55 are all about God’s Law, we can see how going up to obey God with His ways and thoughts that are so much higher than ours is impossible for humans.

But the Law can be summed up in one word that word is “Love.” God has loved us in Christ, and in Christ’s love, we can go up to God and respond to others in that same love that is in Christ.

In a way, we are square pegs trying to fit in round holes as we share the love of Christ. The human ego can be so strong that people do not want to receive the love of Christ.

People want to go their own stubborn ways, and as we share the love of Christ and the power that is in that love, some will accept it and others will reject it as the religious leaders did of Jesus’ day.

For us, in our own lives, we can know that we are a perfect fit with God. And although in this world, we might feel like square pegs in round holes, we can make “this” work-whatever “this” is because God’s thoughts and ways are only about love.

And in God’s love in Christ, everything fits perfectly.

We don’t think we need to “fix” anything or really change anything. Things have a way of taking care of themselves if we first love as God has loved us in Christ.

This love of God is so strong that even in messy times, our situations can still work for God’s good purposes.

When we are loving each other as God has loved us in Christ, we are living out God’s thoughts and His ways.

Every day by the Spirit, we can digest God’s Word that gives us His thoughts and ways. And when we eat and drink the body and blood of Christ, again, God’s thoughts and ways come into us.

So, when we are trying to make “this” work-whatever “this” is, we can have the strength, power, perseverance, and most importantly the love of God in Christ.

Oh, we might feel at times like square pegs trying to fit into round holes, but all that we are trying to make happen will go quite well when we are living by God’s ways and thoughts that are all about love in Christ.

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