“Our plodding towards the day He returns may feel as impossible as a gigantic puzzle...Remember that Christ is the author and finisher of your faith.”

On December 25th we opened our big present from my in-laws, and my son blurted, “Nan didn’t give us a gift!  She gave us a job!”  

My in-laws know that I love puzzles, especially a 1500-piece Disney puzzle that included a secret message from them!  Christmas halted because they had written a note that said we had to solve the puzzle to find out the gift!  Now everyone had no choice but to help.

Day one: I went into puzzle-zombie mode. Forget about Christmas dinner.  A staple diet of gingerbread men would do the trick.  Midnight came and went.  It was puzzle before everything.  

I couldn't help but be reminded of Hebrews where we are reminded that we are to run the race before us with perseverance and our minds fixed on the prize. Sometimes though, do you find it hard to remember what the goal of the race is?  Or why you signed up?  Just like a puzzle can seem impossible without constantly returning to the picture on the box, we need regular reflection on the Word otherwise we lose sight of what is true.  

Day two: My in-laws had to complete the puzzle ahead of time in order to spell out their secret message on the pieces.  And they don't even like puzzles!  Even though the task seemed daunting, it was encouraging to know that it had been done before.

This got me thinking about the encouragement it is to know that Jesus has not only been in my shoes, but he's defeated Satan by living a blameless life as a man, becoming my substitute, and displaying His ultimate power over sin through His resurrection!  Whatever He calls us to do in obedience, He has already done.  Not only that, we are given the Holy Spirit as our helper who gives us everything we need to complete the task!  Amen!  Nothing I accomplish is on my own, it is through Christ in me.

Day three, almost done!  Our family started bickering.  Who deserved the most recognition for the completion of Cinderella's dress?  Yes, we are that family where real life happens!  I could see the stupidity in arguing so clearly: large puzzles are put together without a whole lot of logical sequence- lots of sorting, attempting, and trading pieces happened at our table. The one who categorized by color isn't always the one who laid the piece in place.  

Repeatedly the New Testament reminds us that we are being built up as a body in which Christ is head.  Each part is necessary, and when we argue and consider ourselves better than another, it opposes the very gospel.  Was I redeemed by anything I accomplished?  Why boast about who is greater or has achieved more?  God gives us each a unique part of His work and we are co-laborers together for the purpose of displaying His glory.  

Do you envy those who actually have the attention span to complete a puzzle? Or have you not done them in the past, but now you don't think you have the energy to try?  The good thing about puzzles is that you can always return to them: even after you have given up and the box is in storage.  I think about myself as a teenager, singing to my First Love, “Fairest Lord Jesus! Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor!  My soul’s glory, joy, and crown!”  Fast-forward to today: twenty years later with adult responsibilities, three children from my womb, and the latest technology in my hand.  I wouldn’t say I’ve put the puzzle away and quit working on it, but I’m more aware of my weaknesses and how prone I am to wander. I am unable to worship and seek God first apart from the Lord and His power working in me.  Even my repentance is led by His kind nudging.  

So dear fellow brothers and sisters, keep your focus.  Your plodding towards the day He returns may feel as impossible as a gigantic puzzle with minuscule pieces that are all blue.  Remember that Christ is the author and finisher of your faith.  He who called you is faithful. If you are new to puzzles, know that even the most avid do not work alone. And if you have some experience, be sure to cheer on the successes of others, no matter how small.  Don’t let the box get too far from the pieces.  One day we will all sit around the table, amazed at how the puzzle was completed.  The reward will be worth it in the end.   

Kelly M.

Kelly and her family are global partners with Cornerstone West LA.

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