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Knitting Designs and Spiritual Patterns

By Marlene Houk

Burke CountyMarlene Houk Burke County


“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”  Philippians 1:6

The knitting needles clicked, and row one emerged. Puzzled, I glanced at four skimpy stitches cast on her needles. What a tiny dishcloth! I couldn’t imagine washing dishes, wiping counters, and scrubbing pots and pans with an inch-square cloth.

The next evening I again sat beside her on our couch and peered at her knitting. What an amazing difference from the night before! She had increased her stitches with each row and now a beautiful pattern emerged. The finished product would gift me a with useful and long-lasting linen for my kitchen. As I watched her knit, a spiritual analogy occurred to me. Much like a parent sometimes permits a child’s mistakes for maturity’s sake, God uses life’s trials to “grow us in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).” He allows troubles to create patterns of maturity in us as Christians.

But, like my inability to see her diagonal design in knitting, the pattern of spiritual maturity emerges so slowly that we don’t recognize the spiritual value of an experience, especially in the beginning. This happened to Sarah, Abraham’s wife. Her story is recorded in Genesis but peaks in Hebrews 11:11 as God honors her with a place in the Hall of Faith. She had waited for God’s promise of baby Isaac for twenty-five years. But, in the slow, hard waiting, something amazing formed.

The motif of Sarah’s faith slowly emerged: strong, secure, and settled. Verse 11 of Hebrews 11 says, “she judged him faithful who had promised.” The Scripture also declares in this verse that she received physical strength to reach God’s spiritual goal for her. She grew in her relationship with the Lord, and her knowledge of Him catapulted her to the role of our spiritual mother as declared in 1 Peter 3:6. Sarah’s faith and wisdom, slowly gathered in twenty-five years, yielded treasure troves of advice for us to live by today.

Philippians 1:6 describes Sarah’s long journey of faith. The Lord had begun a good work in Sarah about 1898 BC in Genesis 21. He completed His work with the announcement in 64 AD from Hebrews 11:11, almost 2,000 years later. She is our living breathing example of Hebrews 12:2 which says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,”

Be encouraged. Your relationship with the Lord rules your circumstances, and you can focus on Jesus no matter the storms that rage around you. Like Sarah, your faith will provide a survival guide for others and will glorify God.

Now, when I wipe kitchen counters and wash dishes with my treasured dishcloth, I think of how, stitch by stitch, God steadily and gradually forms a pattern of faith in my life for His glory.


Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at

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Blue Ridge Christian News covers Avery County, Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, and Madison County in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.