Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Puzzle Pieces of Faith (by Bonnie Gray)

PuzzleHands

Just in case I've failed to mention it, I'm a big fan of the twitter. It's tons of fun, a great place to share and gather information, and best of all, it's a great place to catch up with old cyber friends and meet some new ones. Bonnie is one of my new cyber friends. She's a great writer who writes with a wonderful perspective on faith. Oh, and coffee...that woman loves her some coffee! Here's Bonnie:

My son is not a kid with idle hands. From sunup to sundown, TJ puts the pedal to the metal the moment he jumps out of bed.

I'm one of those weary mommies whose child loses his naps by his second birthday.

Parents have advised me to institute "Quiet Time" in lieu of a nap.

"Mommee! Is it time yet?"

"Mommee! Can I come out now?"

After a few bangs on the door and some loud crashes resulting from acrobatic attempts from the bed to the floor, I give up.

Thankfully, there are a few special items I can wave in front of TJ, that arrests him to a screeching halt: books, TV and puzzles.

Books are usually consumed throughout the day, for the times I can't play another round of crashing cars or making construction truck noises.

And because TV viewing is limited to one showing a day, it is saved for the late afternoons, when I'm prepping up a frenzy to put dinner on the table.

Ah, and then there are... puzzles!

PuzzleTJ

There is something magical about dumping colorful pieces of wavy, irregularly shaped parts on the floor, moving them all around until ...

Click!

The puzzle pieces lock in. An innie meets an outie.

Two jigsaw parts fit together and a little bit of mystery transforms into a recognizable fragment of the picture.

Watching my son hover over the pieces in quiet concentration, taking turns trying out different pieces, I can't help but see myself in the same position as a child of faith.

Heavenly Daddy, this puzzle is too hard. I can't figure out what piece goes where.



Puzzles take time, Bonnie. Be patient.



Oh, good! I think I've got it. Is this what you want me to do?



Well, maybe. For now, at least. But, the puzzle's not done yet. You're just working on the corners. Keep going.



Wait a minute! I thought I saw the piece that had some green and grey in it. Where did it go?



Why don't you clean up around where you're sitting. There's too much clutter around you and it's distracting.



I give up! It's no use!



Just like I do when TJ teeters on the edge of giving up and drowning in Woe-Is-Me discouragement, God reaches His hand under dusty hiding places and swoops down next to me.

With a gentle touch to my shoulder, God hands me what I need , "Look here! Is this what you were looking for?"

Gee, thanks, God! Mesmerized, I return to the task at hand.

This puzzle analogy breaks down at some point though, because in God's plan for us, we don't get to see the finished picture. We actually don't have any idea what this puzzle God has for us looks like.

Sometimes the parts of the puzzle we're working on might seem boring, filling in shades of blue for the sky or brown for the mountains. Still important for a beautiful picture, though, don't you think?

Other times, it's exciting when we find a brick to pave a path or a knob to open a door.

But only God knows the whole picture. He is also experienced enough with putting puzzles together to remind us: it's just no use forcing pieces together that almost, but don't quite fit.

PuzzleVert

Ultimately, we have to trust God for all the pieces.

We might think the answers to our problems or the gnawing "why" questions will never be answered.

God may just surprise us by turning a moment in our lives around just enough for us to understand how things work out for good.

But the truth of the matter is that there are difficult parts to our lives we won't ever understand until we finally get to heaven.

There, when we're back home, God will finish the picture for us. We will no longer be staring at a puzzle.

We will look into the picture and find that we'll see something amazingly beautiful.

I think we will see Jesus.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2



"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12



PuzzleHoriz

What part of your faith puzzle are you working on currently?

How has God handed you a missing piece?

Care to share how God turned a moment around in a way that helped you see how things came together for good?

How is God asking you to trust Him in the bigger picture of faith?

To read more from Bonnie Gray, visit her at Faith Barista and follow her on the twitter at @TheBonnieGray.

11 comments:

Bradley J. Moore said...

Bonnie - I love the every-day analogies you use to describe our faith. Your opening reminded me of my wiry little daughter when she was 2 years old - Naps were out of the question for her. We couldn't even go into the bathroom without her sticking her little fingers under the locked door, knocking and chattering non-stop "Are you done yet? When will you come out?" She drove us crazy (she's a senior in high school now!).

At the end - "I think we'll see Jesus" Yes, it will be nice to finally see the Big Picture himself.

Doug Spurling said...

My wife put together a 2,000 piece puzzle of Leonardo Da Vinic's "The Last Supper." It was so beautiful we didn't want to take it apart, however, we were in Florida with our 5th wheel camper. We covered it and secured it to the kitchen table for our 1,500 mile trek back to Minnesota. Each time we stopped for fuel, we checked the masterpiece to see if it still in one piece. It made it fine until the last leg of the journey, when we pulled off the interstate and onto the bumpy country roads of home. One piece lost. One. After vainly searching everywhere my wife contacted the manufacturers with her story. They sent her a new puzzle free.

Sometimes we may have lost a piece of our lives and we can't get it back. Mistakes, failures, bad choices, life, death but when we call on Jesus all things are possible, he makes all things new. The potter takes the broken vessel and shapes it anew.

Sorry if I got carried away here, just kept seeing more pieces that fit. This may get shaped into a post?

Jeanne Damoff said...

Love this analogy, Bonnie! You share some wonderful insights. Thanks so much for a great word picture to ponder today.

Bridget Chumbley said...

My puzzle pieces are strewn about right now. I've put a few corner pieces in place, but have a long way to go to fill in the rest of the puzzle. I need to practice some patience...thank you!

Great post, Bonnie.

Sarah Salter said...

Bonnie, I used to tutor a twelve-year-old autistic girl. One of her favorite activities was putting puzzles together. But, she didn't like to put them together with the picture facing up. Rather, she did it with the pieces upside-down by using the shapes of the pieces to tell where they went. And she could put it together WAY faster than I could-- even if I were looking at the picture!

I think that we're a lot like my autistic friend. We are putting the puzzle together while looking at it from the bottom. When we get home to Jesus, that's when we'll be able to see the other side.

jasonS said...

great analogy, Bonnie. As I was reading, I thought about how simple yet ingenious the concept of a puzzle is- just like faith...

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

@Bradley: So, you had one of these live ones, too, huh? ;)

"She *drove* us crazy" I'm hanging onto the past tense of that sentence!

Enjoy this last year of high school with your sweet daughter!

@Doug: Oh, you've got a post in there for sure! I was riveted (2,000 pieces? wowzers!)

"The potter takes the broken vessel and shapes it anew." Amen!

@Jeanne: Thanks! Wonderful to "see" you today.

@Bridget: I'm right where you're at, girlfriend!

@Sarah: Thanks for sharing a special moment from your tutoring days with your friend. What a wonderful story addition! Love it.

@Jason: Well put, Jason! The simplicity of faith is amazingly rich.

Billy Coffey said...

I'll be honest Bonnie, I hate puzzles! They just seem so overwhelming to me, and I never know where to start. But you've just convinced me to pull one of my wife's out of the closet and give it a go.

Great, great post.

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

@Billy: I'm surprised, Billy! I'd think with all the play you do with words, fitting them together, you'd be into puzzles.

Have fun with the puzzle.. I bet your kids will want to work on it with you!

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Mmmm....

Taking this in tonight, and pondering over those questions, too. Good questions.

You ask: How has God handed you a missing piece?

And I answer:
He does so daily.
I keep getting piece after piece,
and edge closer to Peace after Peace.
And He fits the puzzle together
with wood and nails
on Calvary.

Blessings, Bonnie.

Lovely post. And thank you, katdish, for sharing her with us.

FaithBarista Bonnie said...

@jennifer: What a beautiful response! I enjoyed your poem. Beautifully expressed.