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Friday, June 6, 2014

Puzzle Pieces

One of the most common questions from believers and even non-believers:  Why does God allow us to go through trials or suffering?

In a sermon by Scottish theologian, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, I was exposed to an interesting perspective on suffering.  This illustration was extremely helpful to me so I’ve taken the concept (and some direct statements) and used them to formulate this entry.  I apologize to Dr. Ferguson in advance for making a complete mess of what he seems to have perfected.

The typical answers on suffering are all good ones.  To glorify God.  To humble us and make us realize our dependence on Him.  But in the end, what does it all mean?  It can be hard for even the most devout Christian to make sense of at times.

Have you ever put together a jigsaw puzzle?  You know, the puzzles with different shaped pieces you assemble to replicate a picture of something.

Ok, have you ever tried to put one together without the box top photo?  Better yet, you know nothing about it at all.  Not the number of pieces, theme, the size or shape, nothing.  One must take each piece and painstakingly find where it fits in this picture.

We tend to look at problems as our whole world.  Why God, why me, why now?  They are magnified and consume us.

But, what if we were able to step back and realize that this "problem" is simply just a single piece of that puzzle?  Once inserted amongst the other difficulties mixed with the joys, treasures and victories in your life it gets so small.  Maybe inconsequential actually.  In time, you may not even be able to locate the piece that seemed so overwhelmingly difficult to place.

Problems are real.  Pain and suffering are real.  Minimizing them does not make the moment go away or likely make it a whole lot easier to handle.  Yet try to remember that God’s creation in you is undeniably beautiful.  Part of that beauty contains wonders (and yes struggles) beyond our understanding.  He molds us into what we are to become through these times.  One is left only to ponder what glorious picture has God chosen to define our lives.  

Run in Peace, Rest in Grace