Part of the fun for me in this weekly rambling is the randomness of the iPod shuffle. One week a recent song by a Christian artist may bubble up. Another week offers an oldie or a country tune. This week a classic and iconic song performed by Carole King shuffled up first. It was the title cut of an album that Rolling Stone placed in their Top 50 all-time album list. Tapestry talks about how seemingly unrelated threads can be woven into something beautiful and even royal.
I suspect that my life experience makes this a much more meaningful song that it was when we played it on a cheap cassette player in a dorm room long, long ago.
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever changing view
A wondrous woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
So many threads of life that seem completely unrelated have come together to weave the tapestry of my life. My life tapestry often feels tattered and ugly and ill-fitting. But as a follower of Jesus I can have real hope that God can redeem those threads of sadness, joy, suffering, success, failure, laughter and tears and weave all of those life threads into a royal tapestry that glorifies Him.
Recording artist Kelly Clarkson sings that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. That can be true. But the sad reality is that sometimes “what doesn’t kill you just doesn’t kill you”. That is about all you can hope for. What makes me stronger is having someone to trust in that can give strength when I have no strength. Love when I can’t give or receive love. And offer forgiveness and grace when I feel unworthy. That kind of strength is sustaining. That is what I have discovered through the grace of Jesus.
My friend John Lynch recently wroteabout how our loving Father takes the trials of life and redeems them.
God doesn’t specially create such pain for a test. He just employs what already exists in a fallen world and uses it for my best. To reveal anything, it has to feel like much is on the line. So, tribulation, (i.e. ‘my worst days’) releases a chance to see myself weather it, to see that God can get me to the next season, fully intact. I find my greatest fears of what denial I thought I might do, didn’t happen. I find that while I don’t respond perfectly, Christ in me turns out to be enough. So much more than enough. The maturity he’s been building in me worked when I most needed it. This season of it being tested out is actually creating new maturity!
Adversity introduces a man to himself. Honesty admits the need for something more than my own efforts. And along comes grace with unconditional love, no condemnation and strength to endure. That is when the tattered threads begin to be woven into a beautiful tapestry of trust, love and grace.
I like the fresh take on a familiar passage from The Voice Bible.
A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. (Romans 8, The Voice)
The tapestry is being woven. And I can be confident in the One who weaves the threads of our lives into a beautiful tapestry of redemption, forgiveness and love.