Press me on this and I’ll confess that I’m a wrinkle-free shirt kind of guy. I mean, who irons stuff anymore? And I’m too cheap to take it to the cleaners. Just throw it in the dryer, set it on wrinkle-free, and when you get it out it’s good enough. Right?
So, Sunday morning I’m feeling like a certain blue-ish / turquoise-ish colored dress shirt is the way to go, along with a pair of brown Dockers, casual shoes, and no tie. I don’t know if it matched well or not. Sometimes you just have to feel it. Predictably, I’m still waiting for GQ to call for that cover shoot.
Of course, when I pulled it out of the closet and wrangled it off the hanger it was painfully apparent that it needed ironed. And not just a little touch up. I can handle a shirt being not perfectly pressed and starched. But this thing needed the full-blown treatment, which is probably why I hadn’t worn it for a really long time.
So should I pick out a different shirt? The thing’s not going to iron itself out. But that would mean I’d have to change pants, wouldn’t it? And if so, then I’d have to change socks and shoes, and maybe even the color of undershirt I had already put on. Do I have time to iron? Do I feel like it?
Oh, the debates that go on in my head just picking out clothes on a Sunday morning! Dress pants or khakis? Dress shirt or something more casual today? What color? Tie or no tie? Sweater vest Sunday? Honestly, I’d be a lot more relaxed in jeans, a t-shirt, and tennis shoes, which some pastors make work. But I haven’t gone there yet.
Well, I ironed the shirt. It was a cotton / polyester blend, so I had to be sure I had the iron on the right setting. Number 4, I think it was. Because if you don’t have enough heat it won’t get the wrinkles out, and if you set it on 6 you might scorch the thing, or shrivel it all up like I did with a silk tie one time.
And I carefully pressed out the creases and lines, one sleeve at a time, then the back, then the front, with special attention around the buttons, and on the collar, applying the right amount of pressure with the right amount of heat, until the shirt looked good and presentable. Aren’t you glad you learned a lesson in ironing today?
You know, as we journey through this life it’s not a wrinkle-free cycle. We get crinkled and crushed, rumpled and furrowed along the way. It’s a broken world; a sin-infected world where the fall-out from our choices (and those of others) can make us feel like a wrinkled up shirt nobody would want to wear in public.
But we have a heavenly Father who loves us, no matter what we look like on the inside or out. He knows we’re messed up. He knows we can’t fix things on our own. And that’s why He sent Jesus into the world – to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He gave His life on the cross to forgive us for our sins and to make us right with God. He rose from the dead to give eternal life to those who call upon His name in faith. Friend, He invites you to come to Him for life! Take Him up on it!
And let me press this point home in closing. Following Jesus is no easy road. Temptations still tempt. Sin still assaults. Sorrows like sea billows still roll. The stuff of life on earth still causes wrinkles. But our merciful Savior continues to work in us to gently iron out the wrinkles so that we might be presented in splendor, as holy and blameless, and “without spot or wrinkle” (Eph. 5:27) before Him.
Applying the right amount of pressure, the right amount of heat, He sometimes, for a season, for a little while, uses trials in our lives to prove our faith genuine. And the result is always for our good and for His glory. Hold on through the process, dear friend, and rejoice in knowing that our Lord knows how to iron us out for good.