The things that fabric manufacturers are able to produce today amaze me. I do not know where our cover photograph was taken as it is a purchased slide, but I have followed my wife into fabric stores in a number of places and have seen an amazing variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Each fabric is a product of design at a number of levels. First of all, someone had to secure the material of which the fabric would be made. It could be from a plant, insect, animal, mineral, or a carefully synthesized compound formulated by man. This material then had to be woven, knit, pressed, stretched, pulled, pounded, or sewed into a sheet of some kind. There then had to be color added to the fabric. This dye was carefully extracted or produced in a laboratory to give a desired color--that was the easy part. Then the dye had to be applied to the fabric in a way that caused it to be fully integrated into the fabric. If this were not done carefully, the dye would be uneven leaving splotches and irregular color. If the molecules of the fabric and the color were not compatible, the color would come off on things it touched. Fabric is tough stuff to produce--especially if the fabric is good, attractive, and durable.
The fabric of life is very much the same. Life has to be planned for--not a product of accident. A man and a woman must want to produce a new life and put everything needed to make that life successful into it. Like most fabrics, life starts by a designed process man can not produce himself, and only recently has mankind begun to understand a little about how the process operates. We now know that chemicals can produce imperfections in a new life. As a high school inclusion teacher, I see children who have been born to mothers whose bodies were affected by alcohol, crack, and other substances. Planning to have a child cannot be over-emphasized, and making sure that life has a good physical start is of considerable importance.
A new baby is like a new piece of fabric. It is perfectly clean and pure and ready to accept whatever is to be used to color it. In the case of a fabric, a dye must be carefully formulated and carefully added to allow the fabric to properly bond with the dye. A child is very similar--what the child hears, how they are treated, how and what they are taught affects dramatically how their life will look as an adult.
The parallel between a fabric and the fabric of life continues when things get rough. A good fabric with properly bonded dye will be able to withstand weather, abrasion, and soiling and will continue to be attractive. When a child reaches adulthood sin, temptation, abuse, and trouble come along. The affect of all of this depends upon the preparation given in childhood. Trying to dye an old fabric to look like new is very difficult. Trying to clean up a life which has been mutilated by sin and the problems of life is almost impossible without devine help.
The Bible continually speaks to the importance of giving children what they need to build successful lives. Consider the following passages.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.--Proverbs 22:6
The rod of correction imparts wisdom.... --Proverbs 29:15
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.--Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. --Colossians 3:21
...and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.--1 Timothy 5:10
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.--3 John 1:4
The analogy between the fabric we wear and the fabric of life breaks down when one understands the teachings of Christ. Unlike a damaged fabric which can not be made brand new by a patch or re-weaving, a human life can be made completely brand new by obedience to God's commands. Appropriately referred to as rebirth, it offers a new start on life with a new source of strength so that life becomes attractive and full.
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you. --Luke 12: 27-28
--John N. Clayton
Back to Contents Does God Exist?, Jul/Aug97.