Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Mid-Week Message - The Puzzle of Life

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."  Romans 8:28 (NLT)

I like puzzles.  Crosswords, word puzzles, jigsaws and others, I like seeing how all the pieces come together.  My neighbor keeps a jigsaw puzzle on her table all the time.  Each time I see it a few more pieces have been added.  Before long, the picture emerges and she boxes it up and begins another one.  The fun is in finding how the pieces adjoin.  I got curious and researched how many jigsaw puzzles are sold annually.  I was very surprised to find that number to be somewhere between forty million to sixty million. Although I knew they were popular, I had no idea that many were purchased each year.  

One of the best selling genres of books is mysteries.  Readers like to look for the clues and see if they can solve the mystery before the end of the story.  It seems that many of us enjoy the mental challenge the author provides.  Once again, we find ourselves taking the bits and pieces and forming them into a conclusion.  

Real life is a bit more difficult to figure out.  I don't know how many times I have heard someone ask, "What is God doing?"  As we go through the moments of our lives and encounter joys and sorrows, we wonder why we are here and what the purpose for our existence is.  We know our Creator doesn't make mistakes and that surely He has a plan for each of us, but, like looking at the underside of a tapestry, sometimes all we can see are the hardships and toils and we can't quite see any design.  

Just like the author of a good mystery, our Lord already knows the outcome.  Because He is all-knowing, He knew before He created us exactly how the fragments of our lives would come together.  He takes each thread and weaves it into a masterpiece, just as a tapestry is created.  We may not be able to see the full pattern, but He knows what the end result will be.  

There is a story of a little girl who was learning about the United States.  Her father found a picture of the country, cut it into pieces and challenged her to put it back together.  Assuming it would take her quite a while to do so, he leaned back in his easy chair with his newspaper.  Soon, the girl came into the room carrying the picture that he had cut out.  She had taped it together to show him.  The father was shocked and asked her how she had finished the puzzle so quickly.  Her response was that it was very difficult until she looked at the back side where she found a picture of Jesus.  When she put the pieces of Jesus together then the map was perfectly put together as well.  

The lesson we learn from that story is this:  No matter how difficult life gets, no matter how confused we become about our lives and our purpose, if we look for Jesus then He will guide us through.  Life is a puzzle.  But only to us.  The Lord has always known how the pieces fit together.  For that reason, we need to keep our faith focused on Him and believe that He will take all things, good and bad, and work them together for His purposes.  Stand in His love and grace.  God bless.  

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