My dog, Buckley (otherwise nicknamed the Mighty Wonder Buck—my husband is into superheroes and such things) loves to play tug-o-war….with anything. Sticks, his flying disc, that colorful rope thing tied in big knots, shoes (if I let him, which I don’t).
The challenge is that this particular game of his tends to wear out the playthings, because as affable and loving and gentle in nature as Buck is, his teeth are impressive. Thankfully, it doesn’t occur to him that he could rip my hand off.
So after a while, playing tug-o-war with his rope becomes tug-o-fringe. This, however, does not deter him in the least. In fact, the ratty old rope—or what’s left of it—is generally the first toy he pulls out of his box to entice me to join him in some all-out contest of strength. (Just for the record, the one with the opposable thumbs generally wins.)
The Buck is not intimidated by his worn-out things—to him they are still functional without a second thought. It occurs to me that God is not intimidated by anything fringed-out either. Worn out, frayed, or just simply on the very edge trying to look in, Jesus was always motivated by the least thread of faith:
“A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding, and she could find no cure. Coming up behind Jesus, she touched the fringe of his robe.”
Walking around the dusty, dirty streets of that time, there’s little doubt that the edging on Jesus’ robe was not only dusty and dirty, but pretty “fringe-y” and frayed—a very apt metaphor for the poor woman who, we find out in another account of her plight, had spent everything she had trying to get well. And considering the social consequences of that culture, she was most certainly “frayed and on the fringe” herself.
Life has a tendency to wear on us, within and without. Life has teeth, dangerous ones, and can leave us frayed, torn, and on the very edge of what’s left of relationship with God. All that remains seems like just the fringe.
But our God is not offended by fringe—faith doesn’t need to be “perfect” for Jesus to respond to our need. It does, however, need to be real, honest, and raw, even mixed with the dust and dirt of my life and my questions and my doubts, and—okay, yeah, even my failures. And like the Mighty Wonder Buck bringing me his worn-out toy, (and like the worn-out woman on the edge of the crowd), it needs to be persistent.
Because God does amazing things. Even with just the threads.
Luke 8:43,44 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.