“Where is the pattern you’re working from?” I asked the Navajo rug weaver. She just laughed.

There was a beautiful rug in process on the weaver’s loom, and it was no small honor to be in her home learning about the art of traditional Navajo rug making. The work which went into her rug—long before it was started on the loom—was a bit overwhelming.

“The pattern,” she said while tapping on her temple, “is here.” I was amazed. How could a complex pattern like this come together without having it all written down, mapped out, and pre-measured?

* * *

In addition to coming to know and love a Navajo community of Christians years ago, my husband and I began to develop a passion for their native artwork—especially the rugs. In time we learned some weavers produced rugs of such fine quality as to garner the distinguished title of “master weaver”.  The unexpected opportunities we’ve since had of reverently viewing and touching rugs made by master weavers have been deeply moving.

I cannot light-heartedly share about the “tapestry of God” at work in us as a clever play on words. His holy, intricate workings in the lives of His followers (and the entire universe) have instilled in me a recognition of our heavenly Father as The Master Weaver. How well this follows our recent glimpse [Blog, The Sweetness of Surrender] into the origins of Romans 8:28!

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that God uses an appreciation of something like rugs to embed in us spiritual truths.

Especially in areas of our deepest sufferings.

* * *

Many of my favorite rugs are of the Two Grey Hills design, a source of pride and quality craftsmanship which historically used only natural wool colors, a blending of same, and colors derived from a weaver’s own vegetal dyes. These beautiful rugs house intricate patterns unique to the Navajo and often include a dark border, four matching corner elements, and a large, central full or belted diamond shape.

When experiencing a season of extreme darkness and pain (and crying out to God for help), He reminded me how the bold, dark sections of these rugs accentuate the pattern’s pleasing symmetry.

A gorgeous Two Grey Hills rug simply wouldn’t be one without skillfully wrought, black or deep brown areas in the pattern. Similarly, our darkest times of pain and suffering are often the accent points God weaves into the unspeakably beautiful, unique patterns of His children’s lives.

Like Simon Peter, however, we may not always appreciate the uniqueness in which God works in our lives. Peter struggled with comparison issues as shown in John 21:18-22 after Jesus told him what kind of death he was going to experience in order to glorify God.

Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] and said, ‘Lord, and what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!

* * *

The wool which is processed and made into a fine yarn for weaving never suggests the weaver come up with a different pattern. Yet you and I may find ourselves trying to do that very thing with God, The Master Weaver.

* * *

It often takes a combination of time in God’s Word, keeping company with mature and committed believers in Christ, and a growing faith before we accept as truth the God of Wonders possessing—and implementing—nothing but perfect plans for the lives of His children.

The above realizations birthed in me a calming, intimate assurance that our Master Weaver is lovingly meticulous. Our most difficult, dark times are not splashed across our lives like paint throwing art on a canvas; rather, they are carefully woven into the precise location necessary to complete the awe-inspiring, yet-to-be-revealed pattern.

Notably, in Navajo rug weaving, the black or dark brown yarn of wool is never a single weft further than it must to bring out the perfection of the design.

I’m now convinced that God never wastes a single moment of His children’s pain. Even our troubles and tribulations serve a good and useful purpose, as we read in Romans 8:28 and James 1:2-4. When the work of a season’s pain’s has been accomplished, God prevents that pain from going any further—just as a weaver sticks to her pattern and God limits the reach of the sea:

Job 38:10-11, “And I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop…’”

Jeremiah 5:22, “’‘Do you not fear Me?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, an eternal decree, so it cannot cross over it. Though the waves toss, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot cross over it.’”

What a comfort!

* * *

I invite you to thrillingly cling to that deep comfort while also considering:

Traditional Navajo rugs were historically made from sheep’s wool belonging to the weaver’s “camp”. The sheep had adequate food, water, shelter from the elements, and protection from predators only because of those who watched over and cared for them.  Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ who tend sheep have a deeper understanding of the security and comfort to be found in Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-15).

Let’s ask:

Are you and I deriving our security and comfort in Jesus?

* * *

It’s a lengthy and time-consuming process to shear the wool, clean it, card it, and spin it into yarn. The believer in Christ who longs to be conformed into His image may grow weary through what the Bible refers to as the “sanctification” process. It is time consuming. We need cleaning. God takes the raw wool of our lives and cards it, refining it through multiple means (including hardships) to soften and prepare it for His use (I Peter 1:3-9).

Let’s ask:

Are you and I willing to go the distance with God, knowing He can be trusted?

* * *

In the early years of Navajo rug making—when travel was limited—rugs were often regional in style. By pattern type and coloration, it was known from which area they came. Regional rugs became known styles, such as the Two Grey Hills, Chinle, and Tec Nos Pos. While the adopted child of God may look like any other human being, he or she should quickly be recognizable as belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Let’s ask:

Are you and I so identified with Christ that people can observe our mannerisms and tell, almost immediately, we belong to Him?

* * *

Two popular and closely related Navajo rug designs are the Ganado and Klagetoh rugs, which use deep reds in their patterns along with black, grey, white and browns. The “Ganado Red” color was inspired by early trader Juan Lorenzo Hubbell, founder of Hubbell Trading Post in 1878. The weavers who made the bold move to incorporate Ganado Red into their rugs brought a new and lasting dynamic to the art of Navajo rug weaving.  God applies to individuals the shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, to wash their sins away. Christ followers do not lose their personalities or identities; rather, they are made complete in Him, transferred into the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13-14;22).

Let’s ask:

Does the bold splash of Christ’s redeeming blood mark your life and mine?

* * *

Patterns for Navajo rugs have been influenced by weavers and their families, traders, demand, economics, and the love of art. Nontraditional colors in rugs have gained momentum and respect in more recent years, although well woven “traditional” styles continue to command a high price. What hasn’t changed over the years, however, are the essentials of a patient, skilled, and dedicated weaver who uses good quality yarn. God’s purposes for His children never change, yet He enables us to serve Him and others in new as well as “tried and true” ways (James 1:17; I Corinthians 12:4-6).

Let’s ask:

Is God’s Word the unchanging influence and foundation from which we pattern ourselves to live, love, work, and serve others in a changing culture?

* * *

For any weaving or tapestry, the structure of the weaver’s loom is important.  The determined height and width of the rug to be woven are carefully factored into the loom’s design before being constructed and raised up. The glory is not in the loom, however, but in the rug which it will hold. God sovereignly grew the tree on which His Son, Jesus, would be lifted up as a sacrifice for our sins. He constructed salvation’s plan, and our glory is not in a physical cross but in the Lamb of God who gave Himself up for us on the cross (John 3:14; Acts 2:23-24; 2 Peter 1:16-17).

Let’s ask:

Are we relying on anything other than God’s plan for salvation for justification in standing before Him one day?

* * *

“Your way, O God, is holy;

What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders…”

(Psalm 77:13-14a)

* * *

Thank you for joining us today. You are loved, your heartaches and trials are not meaningless, and God can be trusted as The Master Weaver!

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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