“Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It’s that we have only seen the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front–” ~G.K. Chesterton
I love this quote.
It reminds me very much of a word picture I was taught years ago. Maybe you’ve heard it too: The backside of a quilt in progress, with all its knots and frays, is an unsightly, disjointed, chaotic and ragged mess. Oh, but when the quilt is taken off the rack and turned around, what a joy to behold! Now patterns and colors boast beautiful contrasts and highlights. Intricate stitches and careful attention to detail all come together to make a beautiful work of art.
What we see on our earthy journey in our limited understanding, is the backside of glory. We can only see muted colors, scraps of worn fabric, and faint outlines of what appears to be a knotted, gnarled disaster. We try to reconcile our disappointments, suffering and pain with what God’s word tells us about all things working together for good, and that He makes ALL things beautiful in His own time. Try as we might, we struggle to see the beauty from this side, and in our impatience, we attempt to embellish the wrong side of the quilt. We mistakenly believe that if we just had a shiny button, or a sparkly sequin, it would make it look a little prettier. All the while God is “…’round in front” admiring His finished work. Complex designs are carefully quilted in with threads of grace; the whole work of art pulled, tied and intricately bound in love. From His perspective, the highs and lows of our life experiences complement each other and showcase His providential glory that has been pieced together with patience and time.
If only we could get ’round to the front.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I don’t know, but I have a feeling I’m not the only one that needed this gentle reminder today. I was thinking about my family, and the craziness of the past
couple eight years…and how true this message really is. At my lowest points, there was a gentle peace that settled in my spirit, that even in the face of trial, tribulation, rejection, loneliness and suffering, God’s grace was evident, teaching me, strengthening me and bringing me comfort and consolation.
If you are on that rollercoaster of life…or stuck in the valley…or on the mountaintop…He is there. He is aware. He loves you, and comes alongside you with His all sufficient grace.
A facebook friend posted a popular meme this morning. By popular, I mean it’s one that has spoken to me before on numerous occasions. It says: “Joseph waited 13 years, Abraham waited 25 years, Moses waited 40 years, Jesus waited 30 years. If God is making you wait, you’re in good company.”
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices! Psalm 37:7
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. Hebrews 6:15
I did a quick word search on “with patience” and “patiently”.
Can I say right now…? Wow!
We are called to patiently…
…wait (Psalm 37:7, Romans 8:25, )
…endure sufferings (1 Cor 1:5-7)
…bear fruit (Luke 8:15)
…bear with one another in love (Eph. 4:2)
…reprove, rebuke, and exhort (2 Tim. 4:2)
…run the race (Hebrews 12:1)
LESSON EIGHTH: ON THE HOLY GHOST AND HIS DESCENT UPON THE APOSTLES
- De-scent’, the act of coming down.
- En-a’ble, to make able.
- En-light’en, to make them understand better.
- Pen’te-cost, the fiftieth day after Easter.
- Preach, declare publicly, spread by word of mouth.
- Sanc’ti-fy, to make holy.
- Strength’en, make strong.
- Whit’sun-day, white Sunday.
94. Q. Who is the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Ghost is the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.
97. Q. On what day did the Holy Ghost come down upon the Apostles?
A. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles ten days after the Ascension of our Lord; and the day on which He came down upon the Apostles is called Whitsunday, or Pentecost.
99. Q. Who sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles?
A. Our Lord Jesus Christ sent the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
100. Q. Why did Christ send the Holy Ghost?
A. Christ sent the Holy Ghost to sanctify His Church, to enlighten and strengthen the Apostles, and to enable them to preach the Gospel.
Source: Baltimore Catechism
LESSON SEVENTH: ON OUR LORD’S PASSION, DEATH, RESURRECTION, AND ASCENSION
78. Q. What did Jesus Christ Suffer?
A. Jesus Christ suffered a bloody sweat, a cruel scourging, was crowned with thorns, and was crucified.
79. Q. On what clay did Christ die?
A. Christ died on Good Friday.
83. Q. Why did Christ suffer and die?
A. Christ suffered and died for our sins
89. Q. On what day did Christ rise from the dead?
A. Christ rose from the dead, glorious and immortal, on Easter Sunday, the third day after His death.
91. Q. After Christ had remained forty days on earth, whither did He go?
A. After forty days Christ ascended into heaven, and the day on which He ascended into heaven is called Ascension day.
Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.
Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.
Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may make me patient, not irritable. That it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing.
May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward Eternal Life.
As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.