Life is Puzzling ….picking up the pieces
Following on from Christmas, I have been doing a few jigsaw puzzles. It takes me ages to sort out 1000 pieces into edge pieces and middle pieces – all the right way up on the table ready to be assembled. Isn’t the human eye amazing? It can distinguish between so many different shades, tones and hues which helps me decide whether that blue piece is part of the sky or part of the sea – and which part!
The current Australia puzzle on my dining room table is 90% finished. The edges are done, the middle is complete (Sydney Harbour Bridge, koalas, Ayers Rock and the Aussie flag) but the orangey bits at the four corners are a nightmare. They are all the same shade of orange. My latest strategy with these last 80 pieces or so, is to line them up in shape order and try each one in each place – it is taking ages and causing frustration and hardly the relaxing activity it was intended to be.
It has made me think that life is a bit of a puzzle. Some bits fit together so easily and smoothly, with minimum effort and concentration. Others, like the orange pieces, take time and practice, determination and perseverance. We know, as Christians, that life can be a lot like a puzzle. There are things we don’t understand and circumstances that cause us to feel that all is going wrong. I know many people for whom life is a real struggle, with illness, depression, grief, traumas of the past, anxiety about the future, family breakdown, aging and other difficulties. It could be easy to resort to despair and disbelieve that God is sovereign and working for our good.
I’m not making light of these problems – far from it – they are real, and at times life can be seriously rubbish. I want to encourage you if you are struggling, that God holds all the pieces of the puzzle together and will work for good and bring restoration and hope, and ultimately, completion – as that is what He has promised to do.
I think back to the first sermon of the new year, where James spoke of God’s promises, which I wrote down on a card as a reminder, and am looking at now:
- God will forgive our sins (1 John 1:9)
- God gives us eternal life (John 10:27-28)
- God will help us in temptation (Hebrews 4:15-16)
- God will protect us (Romans 8:35-39)
- God will hear our prayers (Matthew 7:7-11)
- God will be with us always (Matthew 28:20)
We are all called to love and care for one another. We have a Pastoral Team here at St John’s and St Andrew’s to support and encourage this work which is already taking place in our churches. We have a prayer chain for those who need instant prayer in a crisis or ongoing situation that needs others to pray. Do contact me if any of this would be helpful to you – we are a team who would love to meet and pray with you for all your concerns, whether large or small.
Helen Peace, Pastoral Care Co-ordinator