Quilts don’t start off as works of art though. Quilts are made from scraps of cloth. Old shirts and dresses, curtains and even jeans are cut into small pieces and sown together in different patterns.
As a boy I would watch my grandmother sew the odd, mismatched scraps together into small squares. I remember thinking to myself: “That isn’t going to look good. Those little squares are ugly.”
But then patterns began to emerge. By the time she was finished, each quilt had become an amazing mosaic masterpiece.
I think of my grandmother’s quilts every time I read the story of Ruth in the Bible.
Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi had been through a lot. Naomi faced a severe famine. She was forced to move to a foreign land hundreds of miles from her home in Bethlehem. There she lost her husband and buried her two sons. She returned to Bethlehem years later poor and bitter with a young, foreign daughter-in-law clinging to her skirt.
There in Bethlehem, young Ruth was forced to glean grain to survive. By law, harvesters could not pick up any grain that fell to the ground as they were harvesting. They were to leave it for the poor. Every day, Ruth went out and gathered the left over grain so she and her mother-in-law could eat.
Ruth, however, ended up gleaning in the field of a man named Boaz, a distant cousin of her dead husband. To make a long story short, Boaz and Ruth fell in love. They were married and Boaz took care of Ruth and Naomi the rest of their lives.
Even if that was the end of the story, it would be a wonderful example of God making all things work together for the good of his children. But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story…”
Ruth and Boaz ended up having a son named Obed, who had a son named Jesse, who had a son named David. Do you remember hearing about a David from Bethlehem in the Bible? Yep. That’s right. Ruth was King David’s great grandmother.
Even more importantly, one thousand years later another descendant of Ruth was born in Bethlehem. His name was Jesus. God worked all the events of Naomi and Ruth’s lives in order to bring about the birth of our Savior from sin.
When Naomi and Ruth lost their husbands and suffered near starvation, do you think they knew it was so that Ruth would marry Boaz and have a great grandson who would become king? Could they see that the Savior of the world would be born because of it?
No. At the time, they could only see the ugly, mismatched scraps of their lives. They couldn’t see how God would sew it all together into a beautiful work of art.
The same is true in our lives. We face sickness and heartache. We watch people we love suffer and die. Oftentimes we look at our lives and think, “God you’re messing this up. Why are you doing this to me?” The problem is that we can’t see what God sees. We only see a small part of the quilt.
Your life is a beautiful work of art sewn together by a master quilter. So trust him. Even though sometimes it seems like he is messing everything up, he has a plan and a purpose. His plans brought Jesus into the world to live and die for your sins. His plans end up with you in heaven.
Though right now you can only see pieces and scraps, one day you will see the beautiful quilt that God has made of your life.