During Corrie’s presentations to audiences, she would often hold up the back side of a blue cloth of embroidery with hundreds of tangled threads hanging down from it. Many wondered if she was holding up the wrong side by mistake.
The Messy Back Side of the Embroidery
As she held up the messy side of the embroidery, she would ask, “Does God always grant us what we ask for in prayers? Not always. Sometimes He says, ‘No.’ That is because God knows what we do not know. Look at this piece of embroidery. The wrong side is chaos. But look at the beautiful picture on the other side – the right side.”
Triumphantly, she flipped the cloth over and revealed an extravagantly embroidered crown – symbolizing our crown of eternal life. The crown was beautifully stitched with threads of many colors but also gold, silver, and pearls. “[In our lives] we see the wrong side, but God sees His side all the time. One day we shall see the embroidery from His side and thank Him for every answered and unanswered prayer.”
“Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted,
I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown.”
~Corrie Ten Boom, My Heart Sings
Through events like the story below, God was building up the faith of Corrie and Betsy to strengthen them for the things to come. He was embroidering from the back side.
One night I tossed for an hour while dogfights (war planes) raged overhead, streaking my patch of sky with fire. At last I heard Betsie stirring in the kitchen and ran down to join her.
She was making tea. She brought it into the dining room where we had covered the windows with heavy black paper and set out the best cups. Somewhere in the night there was an explosion; the dishes in the cupboard rattled.
For an hour we sipped our tea and talked, until the sound of planes died away and the sky was silent. I said goodnight to Betsie at the door to Tante Jans’s rooms and groped my way up the dark stairs to my own. The fiery light was gone from the sky. I felt for my bed: there was the pillow. Then in the darkness my hand closed over something hard. Sharp too! I felt blood trickle along a finger.
It was a jagged piece of metal, ten inches long.
“Betsie!” I raced down the stairs with the shrapnel shard in my hand. We went back to the dining room and stared at it in the light while Betsie bandaged my hand.
“On your pillow,” she kept saying.
“Betsie, if I hadn’t heard you in the kitchen—”
But Betsie put a finger on my mouth. “Don’t say it, Corrie! There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety—Oh Corrie, let us pray that we may always know it!
~Excerpt from The Hiding Place
Dear reader and friend, occasionally God gives us a glimpse at what He is weaving into the fabric of our lives. That momentary peek at glory gives us the courage to soldier on, knowing that nothing happens by accident.
No thread of experience—good or bad—is wasted. When it appears to be that way, we just have to remind ourselves that we are simply looking at the backside of an embroidery. And the One weaving it together, knows precisely what He is doing.
“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)
“My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth 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
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal 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 the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.”
~Corrie ten Boom
“I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. ” ~
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