My sister Lise is fine maker of samplers, a rare art, I expect. Like Tabitha of Joppa in Acts 9, she is always busy doing cross-stitch for this one or that one, bringing back to life the works of wholesome young ladies of a former century.
Her most recent creation is a reproduction of an alphabet exercise by 12-year-old Anne Anthony, born April 16, 1776, in Newport, R.I. It is festooned with a border of birds and flowers enclosing period-dressed ladies and gentlemen and a Georgian-style house. It also bears these words:
Though mercy is his darling grace
In which he chiefly takes delight,
Yet will he all the human race
According to their works requite.
Lise gifted a young relative of ours with the sampler, and the recipient rejected it outright, not being a Christian and being offended by the text. As I was the one who had been appointed to deliver the present to the young lady in my sister's absence, it fell to me to report her reaction to it when Lise queried some time later. I didn't know what to say.
As honesty is always the best policy, this is what I ended up telling her: Your present was not well received at this time, as the Word of God always gives offense. It has a home in my own bedroom for now, where I am enjoying it and it reminds me of you. But do not consider your labor of love in vain. Someday, when the young lady becomes a Christian-as you and I have been praying for years-the sampler will be appreciated, and all the more.
Think of it this way: The Lord is creating His own sampler, like yours, out of this present messy situation. And we will see a day when all loose ends will be tied and the whole pattern revealed to be glorious.