God’s still working on your puzzle

I have a friend who for a few years has been coming over on Tuesday nights.  It started out mostly because her cable was out and there was a TV show that we both watched, so she just came to my house to watch it with me and the routine stuck.  During the times when the show was on a break, we started putting puzzles together and well, that routine pretty much stuck too.  So now we watch shows and put puzzles together every Tuesday night.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time that my table didn’t have a puzzle on it.

We usually do 1000 piece puzzles and in all this time, we’ve gotten pretty good at putting them together.  We have often finished a whole puzzle in one night with the TV going in the background.  We always start by sorting through to find the outside edges.   Then once they are all together, we sort the inside pieces – by color or by what they are – and then we start working on the inside.  Sometimes the sorting is easy because the pieces are distinct enough to know which section of the puzzle they probably go, but other times when there are a lot of similar colors, it’s a lot harder to tell.

But even when a piece is obviously part of the house or the dog or whatever’s in the picture, you still don’t know exactly where to put it until there are some other pieces in place around where it goes.  You have a general idea, but not an exact one.

Our walk with God is so much like this.  We try to sort out situations we find ourselves in and sometimes we kinda have an idea of where God’s going with the thing.  We can see about where all of it fits in.  Other times, we haven’t got a clue…we know it has purpose and fits in somewhere, but where is so unclear.  It’s not unusual to end up having to wait for God to put a few more pieces in place before we can get a clear picture of where He’s going.

And in our waiting, it’s not hard to get distracted by glancing around at other people’s lives.  We see all the pieces of their puzzle seeming to fall right into place and here we are with all these piles of pieces and no idea where to put them.  It’s easy to get discouraged when we focus on what God is doing in everybody else’s life and forget to pay attention to what’s happening in ours.  We get envious and covet what someone else has instead of being patient and waiting for our own picture to become clear.

And I mean, let’s just be honest.  Waiting stinks.  It’s hard, especially when the thing we are waiting for is something that’s a deep desire of our heart.  But when God is in charge of our timeline, we can find rest while we wait.  We can trust His timing even when we can’t understand it.

We can be fully assured that all the pieces of our puzzle will come together and make something beautiful.

Lamentations 3:22-24 says this:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, 

for his compassions never fail. 

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; 

therefore I will wait for him.”

Our God is merciful and good.  He loves with un unending love that is so hard for us in our finite minds to grasp.  And He is faithful…remember that.  Even when you don’t see anything falling into place, remember that He’s still at the table. He hasn’t given up on you and left.  He’s still there sorting all your pieces and He’s still working to put together something beautiful for you.

He’s a master at putting your puzzle together.  And He won’t quit until it’s completed.

“…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion

until the day of Christ Jesus.”  ~ Philippians 1:6

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Um Jesus, it looks like my schedule is pretty booked today. What are you doing next week?

I have a 4-year-old who I am sure is like many little ones and does not like to go to sleep at night and fights it as hard as he can.  He has even started resorting to such desperate measures as “I’m still hungry” or “I need to pee-pee in the potty.”  Some nights are more difficult than others as he tries to convince me to turn on the TV or just keeps wiggling and wiggling.  It’s obvious that he’s sleepy by his droopy little eyes but he will not let himself get comfortable and still long enough to fall asleep.

I am so very much the same as God’s child.  I allow myself to get so restless and worked up about this thing or that and get my whole self in such an uproar that I can hardly settle back down.  God keeps saying, “just come here child and rest with Me a while,” but I just want to wiggle.  God said in His Word that He would give us rest, He would carry our burdens, He would go before us and lead the way so that we don’t have to panic about where we are going…but for some reason we still try and fight Him and that restorative rest He is calling us to.  The world has lied to us and told us that we have to be movers and shakers, that we have to always be on the go.  That somehow if our calendar isn’t booked solid then we aren’t contributing enough to society.  And God forbid if we were to say no to any requests on our time, especially if it’s a church related function.  No way.  Gotta keep moving, no time to rest, gotta wiggle, gotta go gO GO CAN’T STOP!!  So we keep right on running on empty until we collapse and all that battling accomplished nothing except to wear us slam out.  And see that’s just the thing – Satan either wants to keep us busy enough or tired enough that we aren’t able to hear a thing God says to us over the commotion of the world…or egads, even the commotion of the church!  Now isn’t that nuts?  Being so busy with “God things” that we can’t even hear God.  Been there, done that.

When we rest in God, we find restoration and renewal we can’t find anywhere else.  We can’t rightfully do the things He’s called us to do with one eye open, one eye shut and staggering around all worn out and weak.  As important as it is for our physical bodies to rest, the same is true of our spirits.  We’ve got to have spiritual restoration.  Finding time to quiet our spirits is vital for us in our faith journey.  We wouldn’t go into the desert without canteens of water, so why would we go into the spiritual battlefield without canteens of Living Water?  If we always pour out and pour out, eventually there’s nothing left unless we allow ourselves to be replenished.  We must have time to refill our canteens.  We never know what lies ahead, what battle we will be fighting and we’ve got to be ready.

In Mark’s gospel right before the whole feeding of the 5,000 thing, we are told that the disciples had just had a day of driving out demons and healing the sick.  Just before all the loaves and fishes came on the scene, Jesus told his disciples in Mark 6:31:

Then, because so many people were coming and going

that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them,

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Ahhh…come with Me to a quiet place and rest.  Oh Jesus, I am so there.

God’s lullabies are more beautiful than anything you’ve ever heard.  His voice is like silk as it envelopes us and His breath in our ear as He sings is so sweet.  He sings songs of peace, songs of grace, songs of love…songs that our souls desire so much to hear.

So stop all that wiggling, child and go rest a while with your Daddy…

 

The LORD your God is with you, 

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

He will quiet you with his love, 

He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17