Puzzle Pieces - Week of August 9th

By Judy Nichols

August 9, 2015

My three-year-old granddaughter has graduated from the puzzles that have individual pieces that fit into individual holes to jigsaw puzzles. Her mom helps her by handing her the next piece that fits into the last one and by doing the edge before the middle. Even so, sometimes she has trouble figuring out which way the piece should go. Often it just needs a quarter-turn to be in the right position but, when she tells her to turn it, she turns it too far or turns it over and then back and it’s still not right.

Isn’t that just how it is with the Christian life? God has given us all the puzzle pieces and generally speaking, He has given them to us in the right order. We know that the corner piece, where we begin, is trusting Christ. It’s where it all starts. Yet, even as seasoned believers, it is all too easy to try to do it or fix it or provide it on our own. This is not to say, of course, that we should never do anything, but just sit around waiting for God to show up with what we need. There are just so many things that we can’t really accomplish on our own and, when we are in that situation, our default setting is to worry, do some hand-wringing, or maybe even meddle where we shouldn’t. We turn the piece over and over; what does trusting Christ look like in this situation? How do we fit it in so as to help complete the picture and let God receive the glory?

We know that the next adjoining pieces are repentance and forgiveness. I am sure every Christian I know would genuinely say their aim is to repent when they have sinned and forgive when they have been sinned against. It’s just so basic. Yet I know from experience (and so do you) that it is way too easy to sin without even realizing it, if not with our words or actions, then at least in our thought lives. And it seems like forgiving when we have been wronged should be counter-productive. Aren’t we justified in holding a grudge; doesn’t that person need to be punished? Even though the design on each piece is so very clear, we can’t seem to fit them in with the rest of the puzzle.

There are many other puzzle pieces I could mention, but the point I want to get at is this: My granddaughter never gets frustrated; she just keeps trying until she get’s it right. Neither does her mother get frustrated watching her child try to fit the pieces together correctly.

It’s tempting to think of God tearing His hair out over our bumbling attempts to live out His precepts, but I think that would be a mistake. As long as we keep trying, as long as we keep turning the piece this way and that, He is happy. He sees the whole picture; He gives us each piece as we need it; He gives us hints to help us along the way, He gives us companions with whom to share our journey, and He waits patiently as we try first one way and then another until at last the piece fits and our little corner of God’s great tapestry is one step closer to completion.

© Judy Nichols 2015

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