A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. NIV
As I’ve traversed the ups and downs of my life, some of the sweetest times have also been those that, at the time, seemed the darkest. It was at those times, that I drew closest to my heavenly father.
My mother’s mother died when I was very young. She enjoyed working with her hands, sewing, quilting and embroidering. Growing up, we had tons of quilts in the house. In fact, I was a teenager before I knew that you could buy one in a store. I thought everyone’s grandmother would have filled their homes with colorful quilts. I can remember being sick and being wrapped up in them … such a comfort.
When she died, my mom and my uncles asked me if there was anything of hers that I would like to have. I asked for her sewing machine. I think that this might have surprised my parents, but, they put it in the car and we hauled it home. I can remember how excited I was as my dad plugged it in at our house. As I looked at it in wonder, it was a gorgeous shade of pink, my dad, the engineer was trying to figure out how it worked. My mom had never used one.
There was an instruction book, but the machine had been made in an Asian country, and my father could not read it. He went next door and asked the neighbor for her help. She came and threaded it up and showed me how to work the peddle, and a lifetime of pleasure opened up for me.
My fifth grade teacher taught me to embroider. I loved it. Then there was my cross-stitching phase, when everyone I knew got something cross-stiched for Christmas. I learned to knit, and made Christmas stockings for my entire extended family with their names worked into the top of each stocking.
Throughout my life, as I would share my works in progress with my mother, she would always be very supportive and encouraging, but she would predictably always say one thing, “Let me see the back.”
As I would show her my work, she would always turn it over in her hands and reminisce on how proud my grandmother always was of the back of her work. I have learned it to be true, that if you will be mindful of keeping the back of your work as neat as possible, the end product will look much crisper.
Let me see the back.
We all have our own image of God and the role he plays in our lives. One of my perspectives is of God as a master craftsman. His will is a massive project, and my life is just one tiny little piece of it. As he works his perfect plan, he brings together dark and light to achieve the effect. As I look back over my life, I can see some of the pattern, and I am always thankful when the pieces fall into place and I can understand some of what I’ve gone through and how it has been helpful in later phases of my life.
But, I don’t have the whole picture … I’m too close to it. While I love to be snuggled in a quilt, you can’t appreciate it’s full beauty unless you stand back from it … and the further you get away from it, the more beautiful it becomes.
As I live my life here on earth, I can only see a small portion of the back side of God’s project. The problems in my life, I see as the dark shades that are necessary to provide contrast. The biggest thorniest problems are the knots and tangles that are necessary on the backside of any piece of handiwork.
But, when I enter heaven, I will finally understand the beauty of the front side of God’s work.
For now, I’ll keep looking at the back and I will take comfort in this verse.
That’s what I’ll think about today.