Clothing designers are some of the most creative people on earth. The dress, slacks, pants, jacket, or shirt you’re wearing right now is the result of armies of people working day and night to produce clothing for the world’s 7 billion people. Most garments are mass-produced, and fashion is a global industry that represents one of the largest employers on the planet.
Think of what goes into your wardrobe. From the development and processing of the raw materials, to the designers, to the manufacturers, to the sales force and advertising departments, to the retail outlets—the world of apparel is a huge player in the global economy, providing paychecks for everyone from underpaid seamstresses to overpaid executives at Vogue.
All designers—young or old, local or global—dream of sewing their label into our garments. The designer’s mark is a source of prestige and profit. Sometimes that label is stitched discreetly inside our clothing, but sometimes the logo or designer’s mark is visible on the outside for everyone to see.
Garbed With Gladness
If a human designer can make garments from any kind of material they can find—as is often the case on reality television shows—think of what the Designer of the ages can do. The psalmist boasted, “Lord…You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:10-11). We have a Savior who can weave a garment of praise from the torn scraps, ragged remnants, and tangled threads of life. He removes our wardrobe of sackcloth and garbs us with gladness.
One of the Bible’s best examples of a changing wardrobe is the Old Testament patriarch Joseph. When we meet Joseph, he’s clad in a multicolored robe. As Joseph sported this robe, it provoked his brothers to rage. In an act of betrayal, they seized him, tore off his robe, and sold him into slavery, wearing the loincloth of a slave.
He was purchased by an Egyptian businessman named Potiphar and issued clothing appropriate to his duties as steward. When he was imprisoned, he was clad in whatever jailhouse rags he could find until he was summoned to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. After he interpreted the dreams, he was rewarded with another outfit, that of fine linen and a gold chain. The next time the subject of clothing arises in the story, it’s with historic irony. Joseph, having compassion on his long-lost brothers, presented them with fine Egyptian robes.
The story of Joseph reminds us of our Lord, who was rejected by His brothers, battered by false accusations, stripped of His seamless robe, and imprisoned by the nails of the cross. In the process, He gave garments of praise and robes of righteousness to the ones responsible for His suffering—you and me. Because of His death and resurrection, He redeems our lives and circumstances.
The story in Genesis ends with Joseph’s explanation to his brothers: “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).
The New Testament parallel is Romans 8:28, the promise that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.
Witness Wear and Weavings
I saw a tee-shirt the other day with the words of Romans 8:28 blazed across it, and it reminded me that every Christian is marked with the designer’s label. We’re all clothed in the Lord’s line of garments.
Have you ever read the old anonymous poem that says:
My life is but a weaving between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors, He worketh steadily.
Oftimes He weaveth sorrow, and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper and I the under side.
Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the skillful Weaver’s hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.
Our lives are in the hands of a skillful weaver who can use the roughest of materials to make the most glorious of garments. The Lord takes the bolts and twills of life and designs them into a garment of gladness we’re glad to wear on the runway of life.
Think of your faith in Christ as a garment, and make sure people know the designer. Make sure the multicolored experiences of your years are pointing others to Him.
So go into your spiritual closet and put on the garment of gladness, knowing God is working everything for good in your life. And remember, not even Joseph in his multicolored robe was arrayed as royally as that.
David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God, and serves as
Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
If you’ve ever celebrated someone’s misfortune, whether it’s a celebrity’s fall from stardom or a coworker’s failure to advance, you’ve missed the mark on showing love. Dr. David Jeremiah returns to 1 Corinthians 13 to explain what it means that “love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.”