The other day I finished a cross-stitch project for my youngest granddaughter that I’d been working on for several months. As I worked up close on this monochrome piece (a kit!), I often wondered how good it would actually look when finished, especially since there is no outlining to define the picture. I would wonder why this dark stitch was put next to that light one, or how those light sections could even be part of the picture. All I could do was trust the designer and follow the pattern since I have no artistic sense myself.
Only when the whole thing was done and I could step back and look at it from a distance could I see the beauty and wisdom of the pattern and admire the result. Yes, I had a part in it, but that was only in following the instructions which I lovingly stitched night after night in anticipation of my granddaughter’s (and her mom’s) delight. The real credit goes to the designer, and I’m grateful to have had a part in it.
Life is like that, isn’t it? An unknown poet says it much better than I could:
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.
From a Roman census to a Roman cross. Were Jesus’ life and death dictated by politics or by God’s plan? How do the two intersect?
Hundreds of years before Rome became a force to be reckoned with, God told Micah (5:3) to write that the eternal Ruler of Israel would be born in Bethlehem. And long before that, God moved David to describe in detail the horrors of the crucifixion (Psalm 22).
I don’t pretend to understand how God weaves His sovereign will through the events and personalities of history, but I do know that God’s plan trumps all human schemes. Think how He used Pharaoh and the Assyrians, Cyrus, the Roman emperor and even Pontius Pilate—all proud and willful men who believed they were acting on their own.
So when the earthquakes and floods come, when evil people rule and oppress, when the world threatens to implode—God is not threatened. His plan is not thwarted. He is on His throne, and I am in His hands .
The other day I heard that three friends in ministry in the country where I work missed by just 10 minutes being on a bus that collided head-on with a tanker truck. Along with a prayer of thanks for sparing them, I acknowledge once more God’s sovereignty over the affairs of mankind.
This, I believe, is the theme of the book of Daniel, which I’ve been reading recently. The very second verse of the book says that God gave Nebuchadnezzar victory over Judah and permitted him to take sacred objects from the Temple of God!
Even pagan kings like Nebuchadnezzar had to acknowledge God’s rule over the affairs of men, kings and kingdoms. He saw a glimpse of this when he had three godly men thrown into a fire but evidently didn’t learn his lesson very well. Because in chapter 4, it is repeated several times that this king would have to learn the hard way that “the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses.” Darius also acknowledged this in 6:26 when he discovered Daniel alive after a night with the hungry lions!
The last half of the book, which predicts future events that God has determined also demonstrates God’s sovereignty. This is a great comfort to me when I see the world falling apart around me.
Though earthquakes and tsunamis may come,
though terrorists may do their worst,
though the economy collapse,
though moral decay destroy our society,
though solar flares and other environmental conditions threaten,
“God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!” He is still in control. He is working in all of these things to fulfill his perfect plan. And I have the privilege to be a part of that!