This week I was thinking about one of our favorite scriptures written by Paul in Romans 8. I believe Bereans may know this verse just as well as they do John 3:16. In the 28th verse, Paul wrote: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” He said we know this, but I am not sure most Christians have the same confidence Paul had or understand why he was so sure. Paul knew because he was a big-picture guy. He understood that God can see what we cannot see and everything He does is according to a master plan. The end of the plan is the ultimate good for His children to the praise of His glory. With a love that is unequaled, unqualified, and always invested in our welfare, how is it possible for Him not to work for our good? The reason we doubt God is that personal struggles are never fun. Personal gratification is too slow coming. We don’t like the process of getting to the good outcome.
I read an interesting analogy that may help us understand. Life is like a tapestry, or if you are more familiar, a Persian rug. The upside of the rug is beautiful. This is the side you expose and use to dress up your house and impress your friends. The other side is not beautiful. There is no pattern, the threads seem random and without rhyme or reason. It is scattered and ugly and may even show stains and dirt that have worked their way through the fibers. We would never turn the rug upside down for everyone to see. For sure, it would not help the décor!
Our lives are much like the underside of the rug. We can’t see the beauty on the other side where the weaver has perfectly placed all the threads into a beautiful tapestry. The apostle Paul was that big-picture guy who knew the other side is exactly as the designer intended.
While contemplating this, I thought of the advice I often give men who seek the office of deacon. I tell them they must be prepared to see the underbelly of the church. They must be prepared for disappointment in people they thought were spiritual paragons but may not have it all perfectly together. Included are the pastor and their fellow deacons. Along the way, they discover it is best not to throw stones because others will learn a few things about them. The ministers of the church are privy to much information the average church member does not know. This information is best not told as issues are better worked out with time and prayer.
My point is the underbelly of the church doesn’t always look good, but we know the true church of Christ is being sanctified to get where God wants it to be. We must be patient with the process to know that someday we will see the other side in which God has made us the beautiful bride for His Son.
When life’s troubles are too much, remember the big picture. Every thread is in the place God wove it. Every stitch is perfect because God never makes mistakes. If you know God, be sure He knows you too. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For you have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.” (Hebrews 10:35-36).