The Reasons Why

Oftentimes He does not reveal His reasons to us.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:9-13

The poem “The Weaver” by B.M. Franklin has wisdom drawn from this section of scripture. When Paul, the author of this first of two letters to the Corinthians in the Bible, states: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” it is similar to the following section in the poem:

“Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.
Not till the loom in silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.”

If you have ever looked at the underside of a tapestry, you may see many threads and loose ends that obscure the pattern that is only visible from the other side. We may wish to know more about God’s reasons for what He brings into our lives, but oftentimes He does not reveal them to us. It is part and parcel of our need to trust in Him, even in difficult times. By doing so, we open ourselves up to the blessings to come.

Photograph by John J O’Leary

Tribulation Brings About Perseverance

”And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
~ Romans 5:3-5

This scripture verse was written by the Apostle Paul to the young church in Rome.  His words outline a chain of events, starting with tribulation – difficult times in our lives. These are the “dark threads” that God weaves into our lives.

Perseverance is to be our response to such difficulties. To persevere means to persist in anything undertaken; to maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; to continue steadfastly. The key here is “in spite of difficulty”. We don’t give up! It’s obviously easy to persevere when times are full of sunshine, warmth and laughter. But we grow by persevering when the fiery trials come. It builds “proven character” which leads to “hope”.

Our prayer is that you face tribulation head on, persevere and look forward to the blessings that will come when you do.  Turn to Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior, for help when you feel you no longer have the strength to continue.  He is an ever-present source of strength to those who believe in Him.

Photograph by John J O’Leary

When Your Heart Is Pierced With Pain

And a stricken soul was singing, with its heart against a thorn.

The Thorn Bird

Once I heard a song of sweetness,
As it filled the morning air,
Sounding in its blest completeness,
Like a tender, pleading prayer;

And I sought to find the singer,
Where the wondrous song was borne;
And I found a bird, quite wounded,
Pinned down by a cruel thorn.

I have seen a soul in sadness,
While its wings with pain were furled,
Giving hope, and cheer and gladness
That should bless a weeping world

And I knew that life of sweetness,
Was of pain and sorrow borne,
And a stricken soul was singing,
With its heart against a thorn.

You are told of One who loved you,
Of a Savior crucified,
You are told of nails that held Him,
And a spear that pierced His side;

You are told of cruel scourging,
Of a Savior bearing scorn,
And He died for your salvation,
With His brow against a thorn.

You “are not above the Master.”
Will you breathe a sweet refrain?
And His grace will be sufficient,
When your heart is pierced with pain.

Will you live to bless His loved ones,
Though your life be bruised and torn,
Like the bird that sang so sweetly,
With its heart against a thorn?

~ by an unknown poet

This poem, although tinged with sadness, has a message that resonates in the heart of a Christian. The poet compares a bird pinned down by a cruel thorn with Christ pinned to a cross by cruel nails at Calvary. Yet the “song of sweetness” is the message here, it is not the sadness of Christ’s crucifixion. The blessings that poured forth from Christ’s sacrifice are likened to the sweet song of the bird, in spite of its deep pain.

The crucifix was the prelude to the greatest event in human history, Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Christians around the world have been singing of this event for over 2,000 years.  When He rose on the third day, after taking on His shoulders the weight of the sin in the world, He did so out of love for us. It is true there is great suffering in this world, yet will we not look for ways to be a blessing to others in the midst of it? Can we not, in our suffering, sing out a sweet refrain?

We pray that you will find in your heart room for others, even in the midst of suffering or loss.

Photograph by John J O’Leary

“The Weaver”

“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.”  ~ Luke 6:12

The Weaver

My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom in silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

~ B.M. Franklin (1882-1965)

This poem has a very special meaning to Cindy and me. We placed it on the prayer card of our son, Brian, at his funeral in 2003. We gave a print of it in a framed shadow box to the family of the young woman who was involved in the accident that took our son’s life. And we have a print of it framed and hanging on a wall in our home. For we clearly saw God’s hand in the midst of our deepest sadness. We saw threads of silver and gold which brought us bittersweet joy even as we lay awake crying in bed the night of his funeral. Not even the darkest threads can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
~Romans 8:35

Note that, although some have attributed the poem to Corrie Ten Boom, she was not the author. B.M. Franklin is the author.

Photograph by John J O’Leary