While doing some reading this morning, I came across the following brief story. I did my best to verify its veracity but I could not do so with any certainty. Nevertheless, the lesson it conveys and the truth it communicates is so clear and necessary, I gladly share (an edited and condensed version) of it with you here. Read on. I believe you will glean from it as I did.
The story is set some years ago in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. As the story goes, visitors are led by a museum guide to a dimly lit room where they find themselves looking up at some sort of a display. To their untrained eye, it was not much more that a tangled mass of string, color, and apparent chaos. After giving the visitors a few moments to take in the sight, the guide questions them by asking, “Do any of you know what this is?” As the story goes, no one offers a reply and an awkward silence prevails. At that point (as if on cue) the guide says, “follow me” and he leads them through a door, up a flight of stairs, around a corner and along a corridor – which opens into a much larger room. This room is described as being nearly dark. The guide leads his group of visitors to stand along a railing, placed atop a low-standing wall, with the instruction to “stand here and watch.” As the group peered over the railing, their guide switched on the lights. It was instantly apparent that the mass of jumbled, chaotic and colored string seen just a few moments earlier was, in fact, an enormous tapestry viewed from the back side. They were looking at the famous “Christ’s Charge to St. Peter” depicting in beautiful detail the story contained in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of John. (1)
Whether factual or fictional, there is a clear moral to this short story, and it’s this ~ The “work” had to be seen from a different perspective to understand what the artist was creating.
And so it is with God and His ways. We often look at them and ask questions such as “Why is this happening?” and/or “How is this going to work for anyone’s good?” This we do because we are on the wrong side of eternity, and thus (without an “eye of faith”) we are lacking the necessary perspective required to see and understand the order and pattern of God’s workmanship (poiēma) in our lives.
No doubt, this is something to think about as we consider what many of us perceive to be nothing more than a ‘jumbled mass’ of twisted and unrelated circumstances and situations that comprise the ‘patterns’ in our lives.
God is at work, bringing order out of chaos. Working the things in our lives together for His glory and our good; molding us and making us, day by day, into the image of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Romans 8:28-29)
“For we are God’s own handiwork – His workmanship, born anew in Christ Jesus, that we may do those good works which God planned beforehand for us: taking paths which He prepared ahead of time, that we should walk in them – living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.” (Ephesians 2:10, amplified)
(1) My research determined that this was one of ten works commissioned by Pope Leo X and designed by the renowned Italian painter Raphael. The work was completed in 1519.