On this glorious Easter Sunday, when northern Iowa is finally basking in sunshine, I’m borrowing a friend’s description of a certain sewing technique—stay stitching.
Seamstresses sometimes need to strengthen fabric cut on curves (such as necklines), because the cloth tends to stretch. Sewing a very narrow stitch inside the seam allowance stabilizes the fabric. To help sheer or delicate fabrics hold their shape, they may also run stay tape along the sewing line.
If you want a collar to remain flat, you make a tiny slit in the under side and insert a strip of plastic or metal called a collar stay. This helps the collar stay in place by adding a little extra crispness and weight.
Several Bible verses refer to God as our “Stay.” Psalm 18:18 says: “They came against me in my day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay.”
Today we celebrate the result of our Savior’s ability to stay himself on God the Father. Even in the horror of crucifixion, Jesus stayed his mind on a greater truth.
The Hebrew word here is “mish-en,” which can mean a support to keep from falling—something you hold onto or lean upon for stability. This focus allows you to prevail.
Most of us recall times when such chaos and confusion reigned that we could trust in nothing, no one. Helplessness enveloped us. But God saw us through this difficult season.
During World War II the faith of my hero in All For The Cause upheld him during the American surrender of the Philippines. Shock swept the troops—they were being turned over to the Japanese Imperial Army.
Faith helped Stan respond to the call of an officer who escaped the Bataan death camps. Later, when Stan was wounded, with all hope slipping away, he held on. And when he had recuperated back in the States, faith led him to seek to return for his captive buddies.
The same holds true for Twila, this story’s heroine. When her father deployed with the military along the dangerous west coast, she needed strength. Though her faith seemed small, she experimented with prayer and received more than she ever imagined.
Stays work invisibly. A garment reinforced with stay stitching or stay tape reveals nothing on the outside. In the same way, inner spiritual power braced Twila and Stan in uncertain times.
Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) says: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on Thee.”
In our own times of trouble, we learn tostay our minds on God. How? We ponder who God is—mighty, holy, faithful, and good-intentioned toward us. He’s not out to get us. He’s for us and always available. Suffering provides space to consider our Creator’s character and embrace what these qualities mean in our daily lives.
With practice, we inject these long-established truths about Who God is into the cracks and holes in our mental image of God. We stabilize our thoughts on God’s unchanging personhood. Perhaps we have experienced authority figures lacking in these qualities, but now we turn our focus on divine constancy, mercy, faithfulness and love.
The chaos of World War II threatened to engulf Twila and Stan at times—everything seemed out of control. Upsetting discoveries challenged Twila on the home front, and Stan faced terrifying danger as an infantryman in the South Pacific.
In the “curves” the war threw them, setting their minds on the Almighty made all the difference. As with our Savior, they had to endure. But Jesus stayed his mind, and so did Stan and Twila.
Regardless of our situation, how can we stay our minds on God today? May we follow our Lord’s example and embrace the truth, no matter what’s going on around us.