Not so puzzling anymore

Puzzling! And my intent is to mean perplexing while also creating a new verb as in puzzling – the act of solving puzzles. Example: “I was puzzling a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of Mount Rushmore this past weekend.”

Mother was an avid puzzler. She loved to solve jigsaws of all kinds. Because her children shared her genes, a devilish, whimsical undercurrent oozed through our veins. Repeated routines form habits, and never failing, someone in our house would abscond with a piece from her current puzzle, repeatedly. Holding piece number 1,000 granted power. Claiming victory, when said piece was at last placed, brought sweet satisfaction to whoever possessed it and declared, “I won!” The game never lost luster.

William Law said, “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will make in the end no difference what you have chosen instead.” And thus, we are judged by our choosing.

Innate to my existence and formation, my chosen beliefs became my safe harbor when life’s vast ocean of unknowns became a daily constant. Like a puzzle piece, I clung to them as a way to filter that frontier and judge people and unfamiliar ideas, and worse, inferior. I thought to possess something others did not made me superior. Beliefs have a way of solidifying and molding into statuesque form, a sentinel standing alone in a dark night. But even statues must deal with pigeons.

Clinging to my beliefs became a danger lurking. Their insidious nature assured my path to resentment and bitterness. My blind devotion unknowingly omitted the love God wished me to choose. I held them as a refuge and comfort. Why would I waste time on someone not like me? And I was sometimes doubtful about those like me. Attempting to mold my neighbor into my thinking, I learned they had names and unknowns of their own.

Jesus said, “But if you love those who love you what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.”  Moving away from comfort is so hard.

From the smallest sins of benign justification all the way to those of conscious, intentional will, Jesus died. And are not all sins willful sins including those of intended good with unintended consequences? Who has not made the mistake of believing good to be the goal and missed the weightier measures of mercy and justice and love? How easy it is to become a Pharisee.

“Thy Kingdom come.” And come it did, opening my eyes to what I did not know before. I finally got it. Emanating from all those confusing and perplexing Bible words came one illuminating truth – love abides and bridges the unknown. No longer did my beliefs need to compete against the world. God simply asked me to live out His word. Life from this point became – how?

Irony expressed its truth. In giving up and letting go, by trusting God, I received.


“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15).

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