in the lifeboat, now what?

For those of you that know all too well the experience of facing the inevitable this blog post is for you. To gently encourage you to not fear the storm. Life falls a part and unravels. Sometimes that is by our own choices and sometimes we are shaken by life’s altering circumstances. Maybe you think you are never going to be courageous and yet you took or are taking the most courageous steps of your life. You climbed into the life boat and now feel utterly exposed. When you leave the life as you have known it and look ahead to the unknown an unimaginable fear will set in. The unraveling can be some of the most beautiful moments you will experience. How can “the tearing away” be beautiful? It is in the tearing away that God is most real. When God does the tearing it is for the sole purpose of exposing you and me in the light of His holiness and His love.

All through the Old Testament there are examples of overwhelming circumstances and the response of tearing their clothes. Why is this practice mentioned throughout scripture? What was it about tearing one’s clothes that signified deep grief or sadness? Why did they do it? The answer has everything to do with the economics of ancient days, clothing was a very valuable commodity. Nothing was mass-produced. Clothes were time-intensive and expensive, which meant that most people in those days only had a very limited wardrobe. For that reason, people who tore their clothes were showing just how upset they felt inside. By damaging one of their more important and expensive possessions, they reflected the depth of their emotional pain.
This idea was magnified when people chose to put on “sackcloth” after tearing their regular clothes. Sackcloth was a coarse and scratchy material that was very uncomfortable. Again, people put on sackcloth as a way to externally display the discomfort and pain they felt inside. (

Some of you are reading this and the last sentence hit so close to home that you trembled: “people put on sackcloth as a way to externally display the discomfort and pain they felt inside”. Your pain is great! Your discomfort is chronic! When the soul is unraveling it is painful. There is no other way to describe it. When we make the choice to climb in the lifeboat and break free of living a life of hypocrisy and false thinking and a faulty belief system then we are being made ready for the unraveling. Just as the people of Israel would at times tear their clothes, a valued item, to express that their pain was greater than what was valued; we also are faced with the choice of tearing away what we deem valuable. A crisis always demands “the tearing away”.

However, there is a second type of tearing away. Matthew 27 gives the account of Christ’s death on the cross and there is a pivotal moment when God does the tearing. “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” This curtain separated the Holy of Holies and was only accessible by the priest once a year for the atonement of sins. (Exodus 30; I Kings 6) But on this day, the darkest day in history, God did the tearing apart. When God chooses to do the tearing it is for the purpose to bring us to Him.

When we do the tearing it will reveal our pain. When God does the tearing it is to heal our pain.

So as you sit in your “lifeboat” and you are torn away from life as you knew it and the pain of the tearing is more than you can bear; intrust yourself to the ONE who tears things for the purpose of healing and to bring us to Himself.

My dear friend, Shelly Moore, wrote and recorded the song, “Unraveling”. Her words say it all so well.

You have taken me apart at the seams
You have brought me to where I’m on my last string

I’ve looped the rabbit’s hole around the tree
Trying to ordain the life that’s best for me
All my knots were tied, my bows fell perfectly
Now I’m unraveling

I’ve heard You say
Wait for a better day
There is purpose
Even in the midst of this
And just as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow
I’ll get you through the night

Broken hearts are the disease of a broken world
Full of people who have locked away the hurt
But the Healer of it all is at His work
In our unraveling

Yes, I’ve found hope that stays around
And I’ve got peace that lets me wait this thing out
Just hold me while I await release, please>


2 comments on “in the lifeboat, now what?

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