From the pastor

    Puzzles?   (November 2017)

    Jigsaw puzzles can be fun to put together. Children often learn the concept of shape by piecing together simple puzzles of two or three wooden pieces, and then progress to puzzles involving a dozen pieces, and thereafter more complicated ones, including some with several hundred pieces. Adults, especially those retired, sometimes enjoy the challenge of recreating a picture puzzle with a thousand or more pieces.

    In admiring one of those larger puzzles recently, I was struck by how many of the pieces were very similar in colour. The central feature was a pair of very colourful loons in flight, but the background included large expanses of both sky and water, and it was quite beyond me how all those tiny and very similar (both in colour and shape) pieces could ever be sorted out and fitted back together correctly. Yet the finished result was a beautiful scenic landscape.

    Making sense of the puzzle of our lives is somewhat similar to solving a complicated jigsaw puzzle. There are a few bold events that stand out, but there are a great many ordinary days that can seem all-toofamiliar, similar, and tedious. Lost in the middle of them, we find it hard to figure out what they represent, or how they fit together in the larger framework. Sometimes the big events seem too big, and we question what else is left. Yet when all the pieces are put together, the result is that we discover that all the parts really do fit together, and do so in a way that contributes toward the creation of a beautiful whole.

    We are reminded by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that, “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.” (NIV) As we move through the days and years of our lives, we only know in part how things fit together. One day, though, the puzzle will be complete, and the whole canvas will display a beautiful picture that makes sense.We will be able to see how each piece — each event — fits with all the others, and we will realize fully that all the parts what we perhaps thought to be ordinary or “boring” each had its contribution to make to a meaningful and beautiful whole. The big events will be set in their proper perspective.

    The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that God is not a haphazard puzzle-designer.

    Jeremiah 29:11 - “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

    In the midst of trying to put together the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, we are greatly helped by having a picture of the completed puzzle as a guide to assist us. Although this side of heaven we do not have such a picture to make sense of the puzzle of our lives, we do have the promises of God in Psalm 139 who has numbered our days according to His infinite wisdom.

    We also have the affirmation of Paul in his letter to the Romans that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

    As we have opportunity to admire puzzles put together, let us remember and be encouraged by God’s handiwork, yet unfinished, as He weaves the tapestry of our lives, and of our life joined together in Jesus Christ, in God’s infinite wisdom and to His eternal praise. One day, the result will be complete, and all who are part of the fabric of His church will see clearly, and admire the whole.

    In Christ, grateful for puzzles solved and those yet to be,

      Your pastor,

        James T. Hurd





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