• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Rita Clardy
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Assistant Pastor, Shepherding
  • Peter Render
    Director of High-Life
  • Winnie Winford
    High-Life Assistant Director
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    High-Life/Children
  • Niña Banta
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Sarah Niemitz
    Director of Community Development/Assimilation
  • Janice Crowson
    Director of Facilities/Office
  • General Contact
    For all other purposes
 
Contact Us Site Map
 
Knots.

God Weaving a Tapestry in Your Life

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

One of my favorite pictures of God’s working in our lives, especially during hard times, is the picture of God weaving a beautiful tapestry together with both light and dark colors (joyful and sorrowful times). On this side of heaven, though, we stand behind the tapestry and usually see only the knotted ends and frayed edges of what God is doing. If we could get “on the other side” of the tapestry, we could see God doing something beautiful, but we live on the underside with painful circumstances and God’s purposes unclear.

This image comes from a poem of unknown origin that was popularized by Corrie Ten Boom (author of The Hiding Place). Here it is:

My Life is but a weaving
between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oft times He weaveth sorrow
And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper,
And I the under side.

Not til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.

I’d love for you to think of this image in two ways:

1. FOR YOURSELF: Think of how this is true in your own life. When have you struggled to see what God was doing? How have you struggled to believe that He was weaving anything beautiful? Can you think of a time when God gave you a glimpse of the “beautiful side” of the tapestry after a season of staring at the “ugly side”? We spend a lot of time in small groups sharing with each other about the difficult situations of life, the struggles of living in a fallen world, the frustrations of staring at the “ugly side” of the tapestry. (Going back to last month’s blog post), your willingness to wrestle with your own experience of this and share that with your group will enable them to reciprocate with similar honesty.

2. FOR YOUR GROUP: If you haven’t had someone in your group share of a difficult time in life when it’s hard to trust God or see what He’s doing, you will soon. Let me tell you our temptation in those moments: We see the knotted underside of the tapestry and like to give encouragement by speculating as to what the beautiful thing is that God is doing. We like to suggest possible hopeful outcomes, to write our own endings to God’s story. This is actually NOT helpful! It’s not helpful because we don’t actually know for sure what God is doing – even if we sometimes think we do. But it’s also not helpful because it implies that what is needed for us to trust God in these hard times is an understanding of what He is doing, where the particular part of the story fits into the big picture.

Biblically, that’s not what God tells us is needed. Ask Job. Ask Joseph. Ask the author of Ecclesiastes. Our seeing the tapestry from God’s viewpoint and understanding the whole story is NOT the answer. God says the answer is to know and trust the Weaver, to know and trust that He is indeed making something beautiful, that He is in fact a God who redeems and restores even the most broken and hopeless situation even when we don’t understand why or how. He actually calls us to live almost exclusively looking at the underside of the tapestry. Our hope from that side is a trust that there is a beautiful side being created by a Master Weaver who “knows, loves, and cares.”

What this means in our small groups is that we need not tell Jack and Jill how their marital struggles are part of God’s grander purposes. We need not tell Sally Sue how her heartbreak will be redeemed. We need not tell Billy Bob how his failure will be made glorious. INSTEAD, when those “ugly sides” of the tapestry are shared, we can love others well by reminding them of who God is, what He is like as a God who can be trusted, how much He understands their pain and has experienced it himself on the cross. That’s a God we can trust. That’s a Weaver who gives us hope from the underside of the tapestry.

Comments

Rick Kingsley | May 24 2014 at 8:21 am

I have often thought of this illustration, having grown up during a time when Needlepoint was still common and with the image of many undersides in process still in my head. This captures it beautifully!

“My grace is not limited by sorrow and difficulty. Indeed, it shines like a strand of gold mixed in with black grief. My hand moves with infinite love, and I am creating a pattern of infinite beauty.” (“Come Away My Beloved”- Your Life is as a Weaving)

Anonymous | September 13 2014 at 6:01 pm

Thank you so much. I’ve been searching everywhere for this poem. The lesson Ideas were greatly appreciated as well.

Tom Sargeant | March 25 2015 at 7:48 pm

AMEN…again I say AMEN!!!  This is why God is God and we are not!

anonymous | April 16 2015 at 8:35 am

My son died suddenly and tragically two years ago, and this analogy has brought me more peace than anything else. I was searching for the quote today in order to share with others suffering with sudden loss, and I came across your blog. The advice you offer at the end was especially helpful to me. Knowing God’s attributes enables me to trust Him with all the circumstances of this earthly life, whether joyful or sorrowful.

Mary | August 13 2015 at 8:48 am

The Tapestry by Corie Ten Boom was mentioned to me by the love of my life just days before he suddenly died.  We thought it was related to another problem… little did I know it had a deeper meaning.  I also read The Hiding Place many years ago when I was going through a very difficult time.  What I have learned through this poem is to trust the Lord even though tbe pain of your circumstances may be unbearable.

In the first instance I learned many years later the blessing of tne terrible circumstances I went through.  I am now hoping to see tbe blessing in my present pain.  In the meantime I am keeping my eyes on the Lord..

 

Sherry | October 04 2016 at 12:41 pm

Thank-you for sharing this poem.  I too have been looking for it for a long time.  Life has many puzzling moments, but God is the master weaver and he knows just what we need and when we need it.  No matter how I think I have messed up my life he is the constant in my life and has plans for me I never dreamed of.

Leave a Comment







Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

  • You Can Change
    You Can Change
    Tim Chester

    How do we mortify sin? How do we address the sin in our lives that reignite like a trick birthday candle we thought we had already blown out of our lives? This is a careful and thoroughly theological book that is hopeful without avoiding honesty. It is practical without being legalistic. It gets to the root of the sinful areas of our lives without offering a prescriptive regimen to hide behind avoiding the grace that has the only true power to teach “us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Titus 2:11-14

  • Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Relationships: A Mess Worth Making
    Timothy Lane & Paul Tripp

    Small groups would be easy if weren’t for the people in the group! This book will help equip you to see your own sin first and provide the courage and humility to address it in others.

  • The Heart of a Servant Leader

    This is a collection of letters written by Jack Miller to people experiencing real-life concerns and struggles. Through these gracious and honest letters you will learn how to humbly offer to others (and yourself!) hope, repentance, and courage that flows from the truth of the gospel of grace.  Though this isn’t a “how to” book full of nifty steps to Your Best Gospel Life Now. It’s a glimpse into the heart of a person who has found food at the Cross, and you watch (and learn) as he humbly points others to the feast.

  • Comforts From The Cross
    Comforts From The Cross
    Elyse M. Fitzpatrick

    This 31 day devotional will bring you to the foot of the cross to remember and celebrate the truth of the gospel of grace, and develop skills that will help “inform, free, gladden, and enliven your soul every day.” Becoming proficient in applying the Gospel of grace to our own hearts is a key skill that is well worth our effort to develop.

Recommended Listening

  • Christ PCA - Nashville
    Scott Sauls and CPC Staff

    Listen to sermons from Senior Pastor Scott Sauls and other CPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Lookout Mountain PCA
    Joe Novenson and LMPC Staff

    Check out sermons by Senior Pastor Joe Novenson and other LMPC pastors at a sister church.

  • Steve Brown Etc.
    Steve Brown

    Steve Brown’s unique blend of orthodoxy and controversy, humor and profundity, and a refusal to play religious games will give you permission you have needed to stop being so uptight. And even if it’s for 30 minutes, you just might experience radical freedom, infectious joy and maybe even a bit of surprising faithfulness.

Recommended Links

  • Tim Chester: reformed spirituality and missional church
    Tim Chester

    Tim has an incredible way of applying the Gospel of grace that is both practical and honest with a consistent skillful affinity to point us to Jesus. He is director of The Porterbrook Institute; a church planter with The Crowded House in Sheffield, UK; and the author of over a dozen books including Total Church and You Can Change.

  • Of First Importance
    Living Each Day in the Good of The Gospel

    Here you will find a growing collection of gospel-centered quotes to help reorient your thoughts toward the splendor and grandeur of the person and work of Jesus.