May 11, 2020
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It’s not our experiences that make us or break us. It’s our interpretation of and explanation for those experiences that ultimately determines who we become. Your explanations are more important than your experiences.
There are lots of different explanations for the same experience. The tough part is choosing the right one. And that’s where we need the holy hindsight to see the purposes of God in our pasts.
One of my heroes is Corrie ten Boom. During the Nazi occupation of Holland in World War II, the Ten Boom family risked their own safety by hiding Jews in their house. Then on February 28, 1944, their home was raided and Corrie and her family were sent to a concentration camp. Her father and sister died in the camps, but through a miraculous series of circumstances, Corrie survived. In 1975, her life story was made into a movie called The Hiding Place. And it was after watching that movie that I put my faith in Christ for the first time. For what it’s worth, one of my lifesymbols is an old movie poster that I purchased. That framed poster of The Hiding Place frames my life. Every time I see it, I’m reminded of the night I asked Jesus into my heart.
For many years, Corrie ten Boom traveled the world sharing her experiences. Or maybe I should say, sharing her explanations for her experiences. Corrie would often speak with her head down. It looked like she was reading her notes, but she was working on a piece of needlepoint. Then, after telling her story of the atrocities she experienced at the hands of the Nazis, Corrie would reveal the needlepoint she’d been working on. She’d hold up the backside, which was just a jumble of colors and threads with no discernible pattern. And she’d say, “That’s how we see our lives. Sometimes it makes no sense.” Then she’d turn the needlepoint over to reveal the finished side. And Corrie would conclude by saying, “This is how God views your life, and someday we will have the privilege of seeing it from His point of view.”
One of the great joys of heaven will be postimagining the past in light of eternity. The past will come into perfect perspective. Everything will make sense. And we’ll no longer remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. Our glorified bodies will include glorified minds. And our glorified minds will include glorified imaginations and postimaginations. What a moment that will be for those whose memories have been stolen by disease or injury! In a moment, they will remember who they are and who their loved ones are. And most significant, the faithfulness of God will be revealed in all its glory.
As Corrie concluded her talks, she would often recite a poem by an unknown author that explained the needlepoint in poetic terms. That poem doubled as Corrie’s explanatory style.
My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He works so steadily,
Oft times He weaves in sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.
Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas and explain 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.
Your soulprint is two-dimensional. Identity is the underside, and destiny is the upperside. Lifesymbols? They are the warp and woof. They are the threads that connect identity and destiny. They are the colors that mark defining moments. They are the frames that help us explain our experiences. They are the shuttles that refine us and define us. And if you will simply put yourself on the loom, God will weave a masterpiece.
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.