Soon after Pastor Guy announced we would be reading the book of Esther, I started looking for good reads on divine providence. That’s when The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias popped up in my research. This story-packed reflection opens with a description of a traditional Indian craft – the weaving of a sari. Far from the industrial machines that mechanically pull threads from giant spinning wheels, Zacharias takes us to a small house where a father and son are slowly and carefully creating a unique work of art. Hidden in the father’s mind lays the design he seeks to bring about with the help of his son. Moment by moment, and thread by thread the pattern begins to appear, the design becomes evident, and the purpose is unveiled.
This picture captures a profound biblical truth. God has a wonderful yet secret plan for each one of us, and He has promised that He will bring it to fulfilment. He is The Grand Weaver of our lives, who is mysteriously yet evidently at work in our lives today.
But despite our understanding of this reality, the unknown nature of God’s plan can cause us to question and often doubt. When we fall to our knees in disbelief and cry out “Why?”, our faith is put on trial and its strength and hope are met with the limitations of our understanding. We ask for answers, we look for explanations, and we search for solutions to meet our deepest questions.
Theologian Lesslie Newbigin reminds us that we must be prepared to recognise there are and will be areas of mystery in our lives. Some questions will remain unanswered and some facts will not be justified. Sadly these are often the hardest times of our lives. But, Newbigin adds that we should expect “to find that, and we do find that, the initial faith is confirmed, strengthened and enlarged as we go through life.” In other words our faith, which always precedes our doubt, uncertainty, and even despair, will not be in vain.
In The Grand Weaver Ravi Zacharias provides wisdom to help us through God’s mysterious weaving. And though, I found the thread of his book difficult to follow, I was strengthened in my faith by four words of encouragement.
When in Doubt, Pray!
Zacharias points out that “Only if you are willing to pray sincerely for God’s will to be done and are willing to live the life apportioned to you will you see the breathtaking views of God that he wants you to have, through the windows he has placed in your life.” When we pray and let God minister to us, particularly when life is fuzzy, we give Him the opportunity to bring clarity and enough understanding to go on. Sometimes His words will be strong and propel us forward; other times a whisper might be enough to simply take another step.
Persevere in Trusting God!
Believing and trusting can seem impossible in the face of uncertainty, but giving up on God is worse than persevering even when all seems lost. For “when the mind refuses to trust, even given a context, life becomes pitiable.” Zacharias points out further that “the loss of faith is a dreadful thing because it takes away hope and even threatens love.”
Accept to Grow!
In places of uncertainty and doubt the pain of growth is more intense and dreadful than ever. The stretch can seem beyond our strength and the temptation to capitulate is powerful. God knows this. Nevertheless, He continues to use opportunities, whether great or bad, to grow and mature us. The Lord delights in the tender hearted. King David for example was not given an easy path to walk, nor a perfect life to live, but he remained humble before the Lord through all things and at all times. This is why he was considered “a man after God’s heart.”
Apply your Will to Following Him Faithfully!
Ravi Zacharias says “The will is a strong but fragile part of every human life, and it matters in the rich weaving of your tapestry that is in the making.” Those whose wills have been tested by difficulty know how true this is. When we commit our will to remaining faithful in the midst of uncertainty, we demonstrate our reliance and our faithfulness to the Lord. This is an act of worship and it pleases God.
Let us faithfully and practically trust our Grand Weaver who is also our Loving Father.
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society
Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes us Through the Events of our Live