Monday Morning Devotion-February 12, 2024
God knew from the beginning what He was doing. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love Him along the same lines as the life of His Son. Romans 8:9 (MSG)
To understate the situation, we are living in difficult times. It seems that we are constantly confronted with problems and face situations that we’ve not encountered before. Consequently, there is no prior solution to pull up and use again. We must start from scratch to figure out how we will overcome the new problems we face.
Sometimes it may seem we are at a loss what to do and the problem is one that only the Lord will be able to resolve. With that in mind, let's
look back ten years ago at some thoughts from a devotion shared in January 2014:
"Life is like a puzzle that has many pieces. In life you don't know in the beginning exactly how your life here on earth will turn out. You don't see the final picture then live it."
My friend Ron Wallace (“Encouraging Words in a Discouraging World”) penned those words for one of his devotions.
It's interesting because, yes, when we begin a puzzle there are many pieces scattered everywhere. So, the first thing we do is look at the picture on the box cover to see what our end result is supposed to look like. Then we start trying to make sense of those disparate pieces.
When you stop to think about it our lives in a way are somewhat like that except, we do not have a clear-cut picture to go by. We can't see that picture and try to live it out.
We have to piece together our life a day at a time that turns into weeks, months, and years. Some of the pieces have smooth edges, i.e. things run smoothly. Others confuse us. Now where does this piece with no edges at all fit in this 5000-piece puzzle?
Ron writes, "As you grow older, you begin to see how the pieces beautifully connect with the other pieces and the picture of your life comes more into focus. Things which didn't seem to fit in your life are now a perfect fit."
And that's the way it is in this puzzle called Life. Our lives gain meaning, and we understand more as we go along. But we never have it all figured out. It's not like the jig-saw puzzle that, after a relatively short time (depending on how frequently you work on it,) you can get the final picture. I seldom get the final picture with a puzzle because I lack the patience to stick with it. That's where we are now. Wondering what the final picture of this dangerous puzzle is going to look like.
In life we will eventually get the pieces sorted out and have that final picture. There is order amongst the chaos, no matter how it may seem at times, because God created the puzzle.
He had a master plan for your life before you were born. He knew how many pieces---years of life---you would have and what experiences (puzzle pieces) would be a part of it. Even though we often don't know what we are or were doing. For example, we may do something then say, "what in the world was I thinking?"
God has made allowances for these "worldly-thinking gaffes" that we pull. I like the fact that our scripture today starts off with "God knew from the beginning what He was doing."
I have a friend who, when something good happens especially if it was unexpected, would say "God knew what he was doing."
At first, I thought that statement was kinda ridiculous. That it was so obvious that God always knows what he is doing it was foolish to even say it. After I heard it a few times I thought differently.
It's not that He doesn't always know because He does. It's just when we say He knew it then that is a way of praising him. It is a way of acknowledging how awesome He is and how thankful we are that in His divine love He gives us a piece of the puzzle one at a time because to know it all at the start would be overwhelming.
If we had the total picture, we would be so caught up in striving for perfection and not achieving it our frustration level would grow to such heights that it would overcome the joy God wants us to get out of life.
As Ron says, "Your life begins to look less like a puzzle and more like a purpose." Think about the pieces of the puzzle that God has placed in your life and when he gave them to you. Sometimes these were major events. Some of the biggest most rewarding parts of my life puzzle have included, for example, going to college at Florida State University. That not only gave me an education and provided an opportunity to make a living it gave me a place to live. Since I fell in love with the college town, I would return here to make a living.
That enabled me to meet and marry the Lovely Susette. Not sure what God had to do to get her to say "yes" when I proposed in a mountain top experience. But, thankful that He did.
It's also where my beautiful granddaughter Quinn has come along and, in His wisdom, God placed her Mom and Dad here, just a couple of miles away. Then, years later He blessed us with another granddaughter, little Ellee who lives with us. I have one friend who has a granddaughter, and her parents live in California clear across the country from Tallahassee, FL. Our pastor Betsy has to go all the way to California to visit her granddaughters.
This is the place I became a sports journalist, broadcasting my school's baseball games, reporting on football and becoming a writer while covering the games. It is where my school became national champions in football---three times.
These pieces of the puzzle fell into place over many years. But guess what? God knew what He was doing. He had a plan and no matter how impatient I may have been for these events to unfold they did, in His time.
Ron Wallace writes further: "One day you'll see the picture on the box God used to put the puzzle of your life together. It's a picture of His Son, Jesus. You'll see how your life was put together in the image of God's Son. That's the shape the life of each believer is to take while living life here on earth, day by day and piece by piece.”
Fortunately, thanks to godly parents and early exposure to the Lord through going to church as a youngster, I have that one piece of the puzzle in place already having accepted Him as Savior.
Now it is just a matter of trusting Him and putting the rest of the pieces of this complicated puzzle together. Through it all I realized how blessed I am and that's the part of the puzzle I choose to focus on. How about you? Are you keeping the faith and saying daily like me? Thank you, Lord.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in faith, we continue to ask you to guide us through these difficult times. May your love win out over the evil that descends upon us as we seek to do your will and fit each piece of your intricate puzzle in its proper place. Amen!