Pastoral Messages | March 13, 2017

Dinnertime at my house has been a bit strange the last few nights. It all started last week when a friend and I pulled out a jigsaw puzzle to work on one evening. We opened up the box, dumped the contents out in front of us, and began sifting through the pile. Before long, a thousand little pieces covered every square inch of my table.

I was sure the puzzle would be completed in no time… but it wasn’t. Who would’ve known they tend to take more time to complete than just a couple hours on one evening? A full calendar the last few days, combined with a stubbornness and disdain for quitting things before they’re finished, has produced a table still full of puzzle pieces and nowhere to eat my dinner.

So meal times have become a bit of a compromise. I eat standing next to the table with a plate in one hand. The other hand is sorting through multicolored pieces trying to find each one its place. With a desire to one day return to eating while sitting at my table, this complicated puzzle has begun to consume my thoughts and time.

What began as some random entertainment has become a slight obsession. I can’t allow myself to walk into the kitchen without trying to find one more match. Before I leave for work in the morning or brush my teeth before bed I’m determined to connect just one more piece. It’s slow (sometimes painstakingly so) work toward completing this creative endeavor.

This recent project has reminded me many times of Paul’s words to the Philippians.

As Paul was trying to encourage these people in their faith, he reminded them that it’s God who is at work in our lives and “the One who has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion.” This implies two things. First, that we are incomplete projects, always seeking to discover more about who we are and who God is. And second, that God is constantly piecing together the fabric of our lives.

I can imagine God consumed with delight and determination to create some beautiful mosaic of thoughtfulness and patience. Connecting a bit more kindness with a portion of forgiveness. Guiding us to discover a missing piece of generosity in our lives. Never quite satisfied. Always aiming to move us closer to “completion”… a bit nearer to our greatest potential.

Perhaps God is simply the greatest puzzler of all. Doggedly juggling billions of puzzled lives all at once. And yet determined to witness the beauty and joy that each of our lives are capable of producing.

Katy Warren, associate pastor

10 Comments on “Puzzled”

  • Kathleen Heaps

    March 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

    I love a puzzle almost as much as I love life. Hopefully “my” finished puzzle will will inspire others, as some finished puzzles, have inspired me. Happy intrigue.

  • Genie Craven

    March 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Let’s hope when we think we’re finished, we don’t find a piece missing.

  • Joan Bruce

    March 16, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    What a meaningful, thought-provoking analogy , Katy. I will read this again and again. Thank you.

  • Michelle Evans

    March 16, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    We too have a puzzle covering our table. Thank-you for reminding us to look not only for the pieces to complete the puzzle but for the pieces to complete our lives.

  • Sue Grove

    March 16, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Our family always has a puzzle going when we vacation “Up North.” We have several sayings, like, “We need some fresh eyes,” and “That piece should be easy to find.” …and always there is rejoicing when the last piece fits in!

  • Ronda Bird

    March 16, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Call Dorothy! She loves to put puzzles together and is really good at it!!!

  • David DeWit

    March 16, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Speaking for myself, God must be frustrated. On table with my puzzle on it, He must have become accustomed to eat while standing up. (Sigh…. )

  • Tim Sondag

    March 16, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Wonderful analogy Katy. I imagine God has the same thought process when a piece doesn’t fit as expected, “I know if fits somewhere… I’ll just set it nearby until I find it’s connections.”

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    March 16, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Love this analogy! Guess God must be addicted to us as we can be to completing puzzles!

  • Jerry Bowman

    March 16, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Each piece unique and its exacting fit can be a struggle! Beautiful reflection!

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