By Sara Lowe
I was recently asked by the Senior Pastor at my congregation-Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, to provide the message for a Sunday while he was on sabbatical for the summer. There was a part of me that did not feel qualified to do what was being asked of me. I prayed about it, and after rationalizing away some doubt remembering that church attendance in the summer is not historically high, I felt God nudging me to say yes, and I did. Talking in front of groups of people is something that I am accustomed with, but this felt distinctly different to me than any other public speaking engagement I had done. The pressure was greater and the experience of preparing and delivering the message to my church family gave me a greater appreciation for how Clergy prepare to deliver a message that will touch us each week as we sit in the pew. If you have not done so recently, thank your Clergy for all they do. If you feel moved by a particular message, don’t assume they know, tell them how you feel. What follows is an excerpt from the message that I delivered based on the poem that follows:
My Life is but a weaving between my Lord and me;
I cannot choose the colors. He worketh steadily.
Oft times He weaveth sorrow And I, in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, And I the underside.
Not til the loom is 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.
He knows, He loves, He cares, nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those, Who leave the choice with Him.
That is a tall order: let go, let God; accept the sorrows and trust in the beauty of the unseen! I know that there are times when this has been difficult for me and I would guess for some of you as well. Recently, I stood in a room with a family whose mother had just died. In the days that preceded her death some of her family were wondering how God could be in this place. Their hearts and minds were full of questions and they bargained with God – I imagine both silently and publicly. It is not uncommon for people to ask both for their loved one to stay just a little longer, and praying that God take their loved one home. This can be a trying time in which the questions and fears that we experience are both sacred and normal. God knows and cares for us even during this time. When their mother died and the entire family gathered around her bed to assist the hospice Chaplain in anointing her body with lavender the same way Christ was prepared for his burial, there was a peace that had not been there during the hanging on. A peace that was finally found in the letting go. Her daughter said, surely God is in this place and surely he was. They were comforted by the fact that their mother had trusted in the unseen and was finally seeing the tapestry from the upper side.
I will close with a review of the final words of the poem: he knows, he loves, he cares. In preparing for today I came across a blog written by Rick Warren a few months after his 27 year old son took his own life. He describes God’s tapestry this way; “we may never know while here on this earth why we experienced a certain trial, but for those who trust in the Lord, there will be a day when the top side of our personal tapestry is revealed to us. It will be so beautiful, it will defy description. Hope isn’t the same as optimism. It isn’t the belief that something bad will turn out well. It’s the absolute confidence that every part of your life ultimately makes sense regardless of how it turns out this side of eternity”.We must always remember no matter what, no matter where, in our joy and in our sorrow he knows, he loves and he cares, nothing this truth can dim.
If this has touched you in some way, I encourage you to share it with others. If you would like more information about our services or opportunities to serve others with our team through volunteering please don’t hesitate to contact us at (616) 719-0919.