“Father, help me to see the dark threads, too, as part of Your design. And so learn to trust You in all things.” — Elizabeth Sherrill
Francis Schaeffer, author of many, many books, would refer to the “dark threads” as “minor chords.” Either metaphor works. Dark threads combine with light to bring forth an image on the loom. Minor chords deepen a composition, giving it a richness and depth impossible to achieve with major chords alone.
People know the dark threads: loneliness, sickness, financial struggles, relationship difficulties, weariness. These threads, if not kept in proper perspective, threaten to overwhelm the whole image. They become the meat and marrow of life.
Jesus gives his own representation of the idea in one of his parables. In Mark 4, he tells the crowd about a sower who scatters seeds. Some seed falls beside the road; other seed falls on rocky ground; some seed falls among thorns; and other seed falls on good soil.
The crowd misses the underlying lesson, as do the disciples. After the crowd leaves, the disciples immediately start asking Jesus for an explanation. Jesus gives one, explaining that some seed never takes root while other does. The latter sometimes produces a crop but only if it endures through persecution, affliction, and the worries of this world.
Jesus understands dark threads and how they can entangle a person. In fact, they threatened him. Jesus sweats drops of blood in the garden as he asks God to take away this oh, so bitter cup. He, however, acknowledges the bright thread: God and his glory. He says to God, “Not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Hebrews completes the thought: “For we do no have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
Jesus trusts God in all things, the dark and light. He asks believers to do the same and gives them assurance that he hears them in the midst of darkness. The next verse in Hebrews 4 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
God is not far off when the dark threads appear. He is present, weaving all things together for his glory and his children’s good. He gives his bright threads, his mercy and grace, to those in need so that they can see that he holds all the threads — all of them! — in his hands.
Image: JoE Cass (Creative Commons)