For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12
When I was young I heard a missionary named Ruth Stuhl speak of once seeing a magnificent tapestry of the Oregon Trail. When she looked at the back of the tapestry she saw tangles, knots, and skeins. In places, some of the beauty of the embroidery could be discerned, but in other times it looked a mess. She then compared tapestries to our lives as we only see the underside as God works on us to make a picture that brings Him glory. Sometimes, the process of embroidering is painful, especially as we resist God’s work in us.
The warp and weft of our tapestry is already there when we are born to start the embroidery, reflecting the way our parents were raised by their parents who were raised with certain values. Forty-five years ago I first met Ravi Zacharias. He became a renowned evangelist to intellectuals, traveling all over the world preaching to students and others seeking a thinking person’s faith. His recent obituary mentioned that his 4th great grandmother turned from the highest caste in Hinduism to faith in Christ, thus affecting the tapestry that became Ravi’s life. This basis to our tapestry is both good and bad. It is something we have to deal with.
In Ravi’s case his faith at 17 was nominal, and he despaired of meaning in life, resulting in a suicide attempt. While he was lying in a hospital bed in New Delhi, a Gideon bought a KJV Bible to his room and suggested reading John 14. The 2 verses that stood out were 6 and 19: 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 19…because I live, ye shall live also. He turned his life over to Christ and served Him for 57 years in a way that had a profound effect on many others. So, in one way, his tapestry is magnificently finished, but in another way, through the impact he has had on other lives by his lectures, videos, and books, his tapestry will be continued.
As we work on the picture of our lives, events and actions embroider us. Bad decisions, offenses against us, and giving in to sin affect the picture. So do wise actions, kindnesses to others, studying, and doing good. Most important is our relationship with God through our Risen Lord, who makes intercession for us, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we study Scripture, pray, and worship. We may see only loose threads, knots, and a muddled picture, but God sees the final picture as He continues to work on.
We will never be perfect in this life, but Christ is perfect and will make our tapestry beautiful in the end.
Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion, He understood
All I had to offer him, was brokenness and strife
But He made something beautiful of my life.
Oh Lord: We are grateful that our lives are not finally dependent on our own works, but on Your work in and on us. Amen.