Trust the Pattern

“k3 p2 sm k3 p2 pick up 5” — so goes a knitting pattern.

My mom taught each of us girls to knit when I was about 10. However, the extent of it was one doll blanket. In college, I spent a semester in England and  a woman who owned a wool shop came in and gave us free lessons. I managed a couple of sweaters that semester. However, after coming back to the states, I pretty much stuck with baby blankets. I didn’t trust myself to be able to figure out a pattern on my own.

Last spring, a woman told me about a yarn shop which happened to be across the street from where I work. I started going over on my lunch hours. I stuck with my traditional baby blankets but soon I was enticed to try  a vest. I am 2 vests and one short sleeved sweater into things. Now I am working on a long sleeved hoodie.

Don’t be too impressed, I rely heavily on help from the owner and her daughter, Jennifer.

Recently, I second guessed the pattern and made a bit of a mess. I ended up having to rip out several inches of my work and then painstakingly pick up 200 stitches!

It was not fun.

Jennifer’s admonishment to me was to “Trust the pattern.” The people putting the patterns together have much more experience and they know where it is going.  I, on the other hand, have a picture of the end product but usually cannot picture all the steps to get there.

Trust the pattern has hit me as sage advice for living as well as knitting.

When we don’t trust the pattern (God’s instructions), we end up in trouble. Take, for example, the Israelites in Numbers 13-14. God had led them through the desert and provided their needs. They had gotten close to the land that God had promised to give them. They sent some spies into the land to check it out. Moses sent 12 men. Ten of those men came back with horror stories — “We are grasshoppers and they are giants. There is no way we can take the land.” Two of the men trusted God and told Moses and the Israelites that the land could be theirs.

As we are prone to do, the negative report was what the people heard. In spite of how God had led them thus far, they went as far as to say “If only we had died in Egypt . . . . Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:3 NIV).

As you might expect, God is not pleased with this line of reasoning. He had rescued, fed, and protected them but they didn’t trust this pattern of care and protection. God threatens to destroy them, but Moses intervenes in prayer. God forgives them, but there is a price to be paid for their rebellion. God declares that the Israelites will wander in the desert for 40 years until that generation who doubted Him had died and only Caleb and Joshua from that generation — the two who trusted God’s pattern — would enter the promised land.

What does it mean for us to trust God’s pattern?

  • Is it tithing  in an economy where savings are dwindling or we are out of work?
  • Is it giving Him the time that is due when we are frantically busy with work or school or children?
  • Is it going somewhere when we here Him tell us to go?
  • Is it giving Him our worries when a loved one is ill?

I like to know where I’m going and how I am going to get there, but God is calling me to trust the pattern because He sees the beginning, middle, and end.

Amy Brooke

Amy grew up in Cincinnati, OH. After school at the University of Evansville, Amy spent 11 years on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship doing ministry to college students. While on staff she helped coauthor the book InterVarsity Press book FAITH ON THE EDGE. After working with IVCF, Amy got her MA in counseling and spent several years working in social services. Amy currently lives in Normal, IL and works for the county government. Amy is a passionate about children and helping others.

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  1. Excellent advice and analogy. and, you have inspired me to possibly start knitting again.

  2. Super post, Amy. Trusting that pattern is SO important. Thanks!

  3. Amy, fantastic post! The minute I saw knitting instructions you had me — I love to knit. I often get in a hurry to finish and — yep, you got it — I fail to trust the pattern and rely on Self. Self can really get me in trouble. I needed this reminder to rely more on God and let Self just sit back and take notice.

    Thanks so much,

  4. Thank you for the wonderful analogy. I know oftentimes I am trying to make sense of a “pattern” that God isn’t done with yet …and as I am sure you know, you can never do that! Only can God reveal the end from the beginning! (Eccles. 3:11) Thanks, again, for the great challenge!!

  5. You hit the nail on the head with this one! I love the knitting image! How beautiful!!! God’s understanding is beyond ours, but we need to trust that He has an amazing pattern for our lives!

  6. Thank you for sharing…. Perfect for my day! Love reading cafe devotions. Your contributions towards the hearts of those in need of Gods word is such a blessing!

  7. Thanks for the responses. I love hearing from you. If you have knitting projects you are working on, I’d love to know what they are.

  8. I learned to knit when I was 10 and then came back to it about 7 years ago. I love it and – yes – trust the pattern – believe what it says. It may not make sense to you but it does. I used that same example in teaching college students to read directions. They did not trust the directions – the words had no real meaning. So we worked on listening to what the words meant. English as Second Language (ESL) students were better at following directions – because they took them literally. They trusted that the words meant what they said.

    So true about trusting what God’s word says – that it says what it means! That means being quiet, shoving the doubt away and doing what He says, step by step!

    I so loved the vehicle you used to get your point across:)


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