Some years ago, I was visiting a place known for making the best wedding saris in the world.(1) They were the producers of saris rich in gold and silver threads, resplendent with an array of colors. With such intricacy of product, I expected to see some elaborate system of machines that would boggle the mind in production. But this image could not have been farther from the real scene.
Each sari was made individually by a father and son team. The father sat above the son on a platform, surrounded by several spools of thread that he would gather into his fingers. The son had only one task. At a nod from his father, he would move the shuttle from one side to the other and back again. This would then be repeated for hundreds of hours, until a magnificent pattern began to emerge.
The son certainly had the easier task. He was only to move at the father’s nod. But making use of these efforts, the father was working to an intricate end. All along, he had the design in his mind and was bringing the right threads together.
The more I reflect on my own life and study the lives of others, I am fascinated to see the design God has for each one of us individually, if we would only respond. All through our days, little reminders show the threads that God has woven into our lives.
Allow me to share a story from my own experience. As one searching for meaning in the throes of a turbulent adolescence, I found myself on a hospital bed from an attempted suicide. It was there that I was read the 14th chapter of John’s Gospel. My attention was fully captured by the part where Jesus says to his disciples: “Because I live, you shall live also” (John 14:19). I turned my life over to Christ that day, committing my pains, struggles, and pursuits to his able hands.
Almost thirty years to the day after this decision, my wife and I were visiting India and decided to visit my grandmother’s grave. With the help of a gardener we walked through the accumulated weeds and rubble until we found the stone marking her grave. With his bucket of water and a small brush, the gardener cleared off the years of caked-on dirt. To our utter surprise, under her name, a verse gradually appeared. My wife clasped my hand and said, “Look at the verse!” It read: “Because I live, you shall live also.”
A purposeful design emerges when the Father weaves a pattern from what to us may often seem disparate threads. Even today, if you will stop and attend to it, you will see that God is seeking to weave a beautiful tapestry in your life.
Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
(1) This essay also appears in Ravi Zacharias’s The Logic of God, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019).