Posted in Family, life, loving others, prayer, priorities, Scripture, travel, Trials

Life’s Puzzles

Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24

It seems we have a new piece of furniture.  Awhile back we made a trip to northern Indiana to visit the Indiana Dunes National Park.  While we were there, we went to the park welcome center to get our “park passport” stamped, gather some info, and of course visit the gift shop.  While we were walking around the shop, my wife Judy picked up a puzzle.  Since we don’t do puzzles and since at least half of this team doesn’t even like puzzles I was somewhat surprised. Then I concluded that she was probably buying it for our Airbnb.

This puzzle wasn’t one of those for the faint of heart.  It was a 1,000-piece monster.  I smiled at the thought of guests going crazy trying to figure it out.  “Have fun,” I said to myself.  “Good luck,” I said to myself.  And then it happened.  As we got in the car the puzzle came up and Judy made the big reveal.  The puzzle wasn’t for the Airbnb…it was for…us.  I quickly explained that I didn’t do puzzles, didn’t like puzzles, and especially didn’t like puzzles with more than 10 pieces.  “No matter,” she said, “I’ll do it.”

After we got home, and not many days later, the puzzle made its appearance.  At first it found its way to the dining room table.  As she spread the 1,000-piece monster out on the table, it was quickly apparent that we needed a better solution.  So, we went down to our basement brought up our card table.  Soon, she had the table up, the pieces spread out and we were the proud owners of a new piece of furniture—a puzzle table.  Well, for the first few days she would occasionally wander over and mess with the puzzle.  There was delight when a piece was found that fit another and then something happened.  The delight slowly began to wane as the next connecting piece became harder to find.

Now, sitting in our living room, is a puzzle table that doesn’t hold much hope of completion.  I think Judy even said maybe she should have started with something less challenging.  I mentioned that Christmas is right around the corner and the table is sitting where the tree will go. I suspect that while the table will go back to the basement soon…the puzzle will find its way to the Airbnb awaiting its next victim.

That puzzle reminds me of life.  Sitting on the shelf in a store it seemed so benign.  Perhaps a challenge but certainly not something that is not conquerable but then the boxed is opened, the pieces spread out and it becomes something we can’t quite handle.  With puzzles you can just put it back in the box—no harm—no foul.  But with life…well, that is a different story.  You can’t just put away—our life journey, our life circumstances, our life challenges—seek a solution, an answer, a completion.  And we are often left scratching our heads.

And that is where God comes in.  Talk to people who love puzzles, and they all have their ideas, plans and strategies…but what works for one may not work for another.  But with God what works with Him always works for us.  His wisdom, His strategy is never wrong and better than that…He is willing to help us put it all together.  He gently makes suggestions and whispers solutions. Sometimes He even guides our hands to the right answer for a question that demands an answer.  That’s just what He does.  Always helping, always loving, always there.

If you have a puzzle that has you stumped, you might consider putting it in your Airbnb.  If you don’t have one of those, try having a yard sale or using it as a repurposed Christmas gift…to someone you don’t particularly like.  Smile.  But if we are talking life, turn to the One who knows the answers to all the puzzles but remember…it is a matter of trusting and sometimes…waiting.  I like a promise tucked away in Isaiah 65:24—in the Old Testament part of the Bible. It says, “Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” I like that.  I can just see Him saying, “You might try that piece right over there.”  I listen and sure enough…it fits.  And of course…sometimes He might just whisper, “Don’t worry…I’ve got this.”  Bro. Dewayne