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A Roman Tapestry
by Alan Allegra
3/07/2012 / Devotionals
"Why? Why? Why?" is not just a child's persistent inquiry--we have that question programmed into us. It's as though we sense there should be purpose to everything (Ecc. 3:1).
Sometimes, events don't make sense until afterward. You're puzzled as to why you didn't get that raise, until you discover they were planning in the background to eliminate your job.
Criminal investigations are planned and executed, sometimes for years, before the perpetrator is suddenly caught unawares.
I am working in the background to stop a case of elder abuse, but the miscreant doesn't know it. He wonders why the gravy train has derailed but doesn't know why. It will be a shock.
Reading the book of Job, we pity him, but not too much because we know God and Satan were working behind the scenes, and it worked out better for Job in the end.
Christian musician Ron Hamilton lost an eye to cancer, leading to the successful "Patch the Pirate" children's ministry.
Often, we can look back and see why we faced the predicaments we did. We make connections that come in handy later in life. We learn things that, at the time, seemed irrelevant, but now are useful.
I don't know much about tapestries, but when I think of them, I picture frontier American or Oriental work. I don't associate tapestries with Rome, although there are some wonderful Italian masterpieces. However, the most important piece of handiwork is found in the Bible--and it's Roman.
A breathtaking bargello is found in Romans 8:28: "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Everything that happens is working for good for those who love Him. This doesn't mean everything is pleasant. There is a popular saying: "It's all good." Although usually said with an inflection of hopeful resignation, there is some hopeful truth in it. Everything is good in that God uses it for His good ends and--if we love Him and are His--our benefit. He takes the experiences of life and entwines them to effect an exquisite embroidery. At times, His needle pokes through and pricks us with unpleasant results. This is just a reminder that He is still working, even when we think He's off the clock.
God only twines the threads we give Him. If we provide corrupt cords, they will deface the design. When we hand Him favorable fibers, the result is radiant. "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life" (Galatians 6:8).
Ever watch Antiques Roadshow? People are often amazed at the value of the items they bring in for appraisal. We may be surprised at the Judgment, "(f)or we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:10). Either the tapestry we assumed was priceless is worthless, unworthy to adorn God's domicile, or far more worthy of eternal display than we expected.
Each life tapestry is a portrayal of God's grace. He weaves the moments of our lives together "in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7).
So, don't mind the pinpricks, "(f)or our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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