Several years ago I combined several sock patterns working through the anatomy of a sock and picking my favorite aspect of each pattern to come up with the Chili Pepper socks. Socks knit with this pattern are a favorite in my family and are the socks we always GO-TO when our feet are cold. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many socks I’ve knit using this pattern and I rarely speak of them here on the blog. But recently I realized that they serve another purpose in my life.
As you know, I like to knit all kinds of things covering all sorts of knitting techniques but plain socks are what my family hankers for. I would be a selfish knitter if I did not keep them in supply since they so patiently endure my knitting habits which follow me wherever we go. As the good Book says in its beautiful description of an excellent wife, “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” And my favorite, “She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.” So I found another purpose for the Chili Pepper Socks, I keep a pair on my needles always as I work my way through the Bible listening to it in my daily quiet times. That is why they are called QT (quiet time) Chili Pepper Socks. They are a fairly mindless knit which allows my mind to concentrate and meditate of the Word of God as I listen.
Since I am the one who is suddenly developing holes in her well loved socks, this pair is for me. I started it as I began listening to the book of Hebrews so I guess I could even call them my Hebrew Socks and start naming them all. If you bear with me I would like to share some ‘QT Chili Pepper Thoughts’ this morning on my readings (or listenings).
I stood in awe this week as I heard the recounting of the Heroes of Faith in chapter 11. I feel like I am a woman of solid faith but as I read through the list and remember their stories I find myself wondering if I would have responded as they did. Would I have had Noah’s faith and built an ark as God had instructed when there had not yet been rain upon the earth? (and before you ask, I believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible) Would I have left my home and everyone I knew and go out to an unknown place as Abraham did with faith when he was called to do so and live as an alien? If I had been Sarah, would I have had faith to believe I would conceive when I was well beyond the proper time of life when that happens…….after years and years of longing for a child and being disappointed time and again when I did not conceive? And then the unthinkable measure of faith – would I have offered that child up on an altar of sacrifice as Abraham did when his faith was tested? Would I have had the faith of Joseph who understood that the betrayal of his brothers was God’s plan of provision in later years? Would I have wanted to be buried with those same brothers who betrayed me as he did? The Bible says Joseph did so in faith.
The list moves from the Old Testament to the New and speaks of the ones who through faith experienced mocking, scourging, chains, imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, put to death with sword …….. and just when you are overwhelmed feeling like you could never possibly compare to these faithful ones the Bible says,
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
So, YES I can do as those faithful ones did. I can do this because I do not look within myself for strength and assurance to do these acts of faith, instead I turn my eyes away from myself and look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. It is what Jesus is, not what I am, or what I do that gives rest to my soul. I will keep my eyes simply on Him and let His death, sufferings, merits, glories and intercession be fresh upon my mind. I will follow hard after Him and He will never fail me.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
So the amazing characters listed in the Hall of Faith gained approval not for what they did but for the faith they had. They were not placed within the pages of sacred writ to intimidate us but to remind us that we can do the same. They are the “great cloud of witnesses surrounding us” and cheering us on. I believe FAITH is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions. Other religions are based on works and what one can achieve for the sake of that religion, ours is based on the Christ’s blood and merits.
A hymn I’ve sung my whole life through –
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”
So, gentle reader, I hope I have not worn your tender patience out. I’m a canary, you know, and must chirp-chirp-chirp to whomever will listen. My faith is so intwined with my whole being that it should not surprise some of you that it works its way into my knitting.