Sadell Bradley

Sadell Bradley

“Anyone who can handle a needle convincingly can make us see a thread that is not there.” – Ernst Gombrich, Austrian Art Historian

My mother was a Grade A seamstress. She made most of my “Sunday go-to-meeting” clothes, and special outfits each Easter. She also made my prom and graduation dresses. My mom was no slouch because I chose Vogue Patterns. Her cutting board was on the dining room table, and she had a nook for her sewing machine. I would assist her with pattern markings and cuts, and with threading needles, especially the very small ones—at times no small feat.

A NEEDLE is a very fine slender piece of metal with a point at one end and a hole or eye for thread at the other, used in sewing. The phrase “a needle in a haystack” implies that something is almost impossible to find because it is hidden among so many other things. The colloquialism “thread the needle,” means to find a path through opposing views, or skillfully navigate through a difficult conflict. When someone is “threading the needle,” it suggests that they are steering very carefully, not upsetting extreme view points. During these days of socio-economic, political, and religious upheaval and polarization—there’s a lot of “needle threading” going on. I remember as a child, having to wet the frayed end of the thread, close one eye, and squint to navigate it through the tiny head of the needle. It was something I found easier to do than my mother did, but I still had to focus hard to accomplish the task.

Figuratively, “threading the needle” is not always viewed as a positive thing. Some see the skill as craftiness, dishonesty, or sleight of speech. I’m wondering though…if there’s a place for slowing down, concentrating, and attempting to carefully place what we say and mean in hopes of engendering or maintaining peace. Sometimes, I had to carefully hold my breath while placing a thread in the eye of the needle.

Proverbs 17:14 ESV says, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” The NIV renders it this way, “Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out.” These days, when people seem committed to quarreling and misunderstanding one another, we as Believers must remember what Paul taught Timothy in 2 Timothy, 2:25 NLT, A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.” Maybe if we would let go of strife and choose to “thread the needle” more; it would give opportunity for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and change hearts in His time.

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Sadell Bradley, Pastor of The Warehouse Church OTR, is a dynamic teacher and worship leader, with over 30 years in ministry in various contexts including: as a conference speaker and trainer, music, worship and arts pastor, providing background vocals for various artists; as a campus missionary, and as a ministry development director.
Sadell’s main desire is to see people saved, healed, delivered and set free by the ministry of Jesus, the Word of God, and presence of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 4:18)

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