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THE GOOD NEWS The Tattered Old Quilt

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. ~ Ps 18:28 NIV By Vicki Butler There is just something about quilts that speaks of comfort, warmth, family, tra-

dition, and tenderness. Someone made each one, and especially those that are hand-sewn, speak of tender care and love being sewn into each one. I have an old quilt which has been with me for about 50 years now. It is threadbare and full of holes and places where the material has literally disintegrated. One day when we had decided to have all our curtains cleaned, we found that we needed something to cover the windows until the curtains came back from the cleaners. So, in our ef- forts to find window-covering we resurrected the old quilt and my husband said he would hang it over the sliding glass doors which served as windows in our bedroom. I had been diagnosed with cancer about a

year earlier and had been through a couple of se- rious surgeries.

I was now undergoing

chemotherapy. I felt lousy and was in bed much of the time.

I found that I was really looking forward

to having my beautiful old quilt placed over the win- dows so that I could look at the patterns and colors. I felt it would be like having an old friend, lovely and familiar to gaze upon and lift my spirits, which had been pretty low. While I was at a doctor’s appointment, my hus-

band; thinking to surprise me, hung the quilt over the glass doors. However, when I came home that evening, I eagerly went into the room to see my “old friend”, but I found that he had put it up with the pretty side to the outside and the plain white backing mate- rial on the side I would see. I thought, “Just like a man,” but kept that to myself as well. Later, he ex- plained that since the quilt was so tattered and old, the back side was in better shape than the front, and that was why hung the quilt the way he did.

the children were wake-boarding. It had been carried to picnics, walked on, spit-up on by babies, kept us warm at night, and washed countless times. It was beyond patching up. But it was in the most worn places that the light was able to shine through best! I was reminded that often we can best share the light of Jesus with others from our torn and broken places. Sometimes our experiences which may have caused pain and sadness help others realize that we understand their difficul- ties. God knew that about the people he cre- ated. He often used the weak and those who were in pain or fearful to carry out his plans. One only has to look at the lives of Moses, Peter, Rehab, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Gideon and many more people God used. The light is able to shine through our weaknesses, our sicknesses, and our broken places to reach out to others. I realized that a new quilt would never

have displayed the same beauty. A new quilt would be too thick for the light to come completely through it. It would have no worn places and would not be paper thin. This spoke to me of experience and how time can ravage us and yet enhance us be- yond earthly standards of beauty. Our life experiences cause us to be more beautiful, especially to family members who know

what we have been through and who see us through eyes of love. But our love and beauty can reach out to strangers and to others in

similar situations. My tattered old quilt revealed to me that God has a mission for us, no matter

Not wanting to dis-

courage and inconvenience him by asking him to turn it around, I just thanked my husband and kept my disappointment to myself. I had not shared with him how eager I was to see the colors and patterns of the old quilt. I was sad and probably depressed. This did not help. But, the next morning when I awoke, to my great surprise, the quilt on the sliding

glass doors was gorgeous with color! As the light shown through the windows and through the quilt, all the vibrant colors of the quilt were visible through the thin white backing material. I could see a wonderful vibrant red at the center of squares and blues were deep. The colors were more beautiful than the original quilt had been. was thrilled.

I I thought my husband had turned the quilt around, but he said he had

not. When I looked carefully, I found the bright light was shining through the quilt backing to reveal the wonderful colors of my favorite old friend. God had found a way to share that blessing with me. I was elated and renewed as I gazed at the old friend from my bed. I began to wonder what God might have meant for me to see in the quilt, what

message he had for me? Aside from the raw beauty of the scene, I was struck by the bright light. I began to see that the quilt is like us, the more God’s light shines through us, the more beautiful we become. God wants us to reflect his light to the world and when we do that, we shine with a lovely spiritual glow. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”, John 8:12. Also in Matthew 14-16, he says, “You are the light of the world. . . let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.” He made many references to being the light and the truth. When we reflect his light and truth something wonderful and mysterious happens; we shine! Since I was viewing the colors through the light white backing material, there

was a soft muting of the colors which made me think of the purity of Jesus and his love for us. I thought about the colors . . . the reds were deep and reminded me of Christ’s blood which was shed for us. The red was resplendent in the light. Jesus asked us to remember that his blood was shed for us. The golds, browns, and blues spoke of the multitudes of different people that God created and how each can uniquely shine for him. I noticed that the places where the light shown through most intensely were the

worn, threadbare spots. The old quilt had been thoroughly used on many beds, on the floor for children to play, in the boat to keep us happy on cold mornings when

what our age or our condition. We are to reflect his light to the world. In spite of cancer or other illnesses or pain, we can reflect his light, even from a hospital bed. That gives me hope of a life of purpose and meaning regardless of my circumstances. It shows me how to trust in God. And he taught me another lesson. His message will shine through the most mundane objects or experiences to reach us if we simply open our eyes to see what he has for us. You, O Lord keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalms 18:28

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