When I was a boy, we had an oval rug that was probably made by a native of the Navajo tribe. I’m sure we got it while visiting a national park out west. It wasn’t large, and it had a simple, colorful pattern woven out of thick yarn. What surprised me was what I saw when I turned it over. It looked like a tangled mess. It made as much sense as if someone dumped spaghetti on it.
The confusing mess on the back happened because of the way that kind of rug is made. The craftsman would weave with a certain color of yarn until it wasn’t needed, and then pass that yarn through the rug and leave it hanging on the backside. Then a different colored yarn would be used until it wasn’t needed, and then it too was pushed through the rug and left hanging out of the back.
When a partly used yarn was required again for the pattern, the weaver would reach around to the back of the rug and pick up the needed color, poke it through from the back to the front, and then use that color to continue working on the pattern. When they finished, they would leave the remaining yarn hanging there in the back until that color was needed again. You can imagine the end result. One side of the rug displayed a beautiful pattern, but on the back, the threads were crisscrossed back and forth in what looked like a disorganized, haphazard mess.
Think about that rug as a way of looking at your life. The back of that rug reminds me of what my life looks like to me at times. Even a Christian’s life often makes little sense when we look at it from the underside. When we see it from God’s viewpoint, though, we discover that God is weaving together a beautiful pattern.
That is what the Bible is saying: “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” (Romans 8:28).
How do we know God can make what looks like a mess to us into something beautiful and useful? The short answer is that God said so! “It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. [that’s why we should] Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:13–14).
Just because God CAN weave our hard experiences together and produce something that is really good, doesn’t mean that He does that for everybody, though. Notice that it is only promised, “… to those who love God….” (Romans 8:28).
Dr. R.C. Sproul made an interesting comment about this text. “Notice that Paul does not say ‘those who believe in him’ but ‘those who love him.’ Paul focuses on the fact that, in the last analysis, the dividing line between the Christian and the unbeliever is not over the issue simply of believing in some God or other, but over the issue of loving God. The profession of faith can be very different from the possession of faith. Many there are who mistakenly identify the two ideas. The word ‘love’ serves to distinguish those who both profess and possess a saving relationship with Christ.”
In the last few weeks, I’ve been talking about the many reasons to love God! We are all beginning our annual celebration of the first reason. He sent us Jesus who “… bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness….” (1 Peter 2:24). You see, believers love Jesus “… because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Believers also love the Lord because He adopted them into an eternal and intimate family relationship with Himself. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are….” (1 John 3:1).
Are you in love with the One who made you? If you are, then you long for the time when you will be in His presence, just like longing for a dear loved one to come home for Christmas. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Stop trying to design life the way you want it to work for you. You can’t do it. When you turn from your sin and give your life over to God’s love for you, it opens the door to a new life. In that new life, you will know that God loves you, and you will love Him as well.
When you do that, the promise in Romans 8:28 will be for you. You can know that God is working all things together for your good. I like the way Pastor Ron Lee Davis said it: “The good news is not that God will make our circumstances come out the way we like, but that God can weave even our disappointments and disasters into His eternal plan. The evil that happens to us can be transformed into God’s good. Rom 8:28 is God’s guarantee that if we love God, our lives can be used to achieve His purposes and further His kingdom.”
I may not understand what God is doing in my life. Like the back of that rug in my boyhood home, my circumstances may even look like a mess, but I know the Master Weaver. He knows what He is doing. He is creating something beautiful!