During my college years I worked briefly at a carpet mill in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My job was fairly low-tech, mostly pushing a broom and keeping the walkways clean. In my spare moments I loved to watch the huge carpet machines at work. As I stood in the back I could see huge spools of yarn—dozens of them, of every conceivable color—spinning rapidly as the yarn went into the machine. From the backside everything seemed to be a meaningless jumble of colors and noise. Nothing made any sense. There didn't seem to be the slightest pattern at work—just a mass of colored threads making their way at high speed into the mechanical weaver. When I walked to the front of the machine, however, an entirely different sight greeted me. There I could see carpet slowly emerging — row by row, all the colors perfectly in place, arranged in order as if by magic. But it wasn't magic at all. Someone had programmed the machine to take that tangle of threads and turn it into a pattern of exquisite beauty.

In this life we stand as if we were at the back of the machine looking at the multicolored threads of circumstance. Some are the dark colors of sadness and confusion; others, the bright tones of happiness and success. On this side there seems to be no pattern— only colors and noise. Sometimes we are aware that something beautiful is being produced in us by the Master Designer. But we never see the big picture.That will all change when we finally get to heaven. Then we will see that everything that happened to us had a purpose, even those things that seemed to bring us nothing but pain and heartache. Those dark tones that seem so pointless will in that day be a vital part of a pattern so beautiful that if we were to see it now, it would take our breath away.

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.