I currently have a situation in my life where I am dissatisfied and am eager for a change. I have prayed about it; I have given it to God. I have dialogued with my spiritual director about it. I’m not willing to run ahead of God and just do something. I felt like I was leaving it in God’s hands. But with Lent, the Spirit begins to bring things to the surface, and this was one of the first. My spiritual director pointed me to a devotional by Oswald Chambers. It is in the entry for February 26 in My Utmost for His Highest.
We think Jesus’ ideals are lofty and they impress us, but we believe He is not in touch with reality – that what he says cannot actually be done. . .These doubts or misgivings about Jesus begin as we consider questions that divert our focus away from God. “Where will you get money to live?” “Who will take care of you?” Or our misgivings begin within ourselves when we tell Jesus that our circumstances are just a little too difficult for Him. We say, “It’s easy to say, ‘Trust in the Lord,’ but a person has to live, and besides, Jesus has nothing with which to draw water – no means to be able to give us these things.”. . .If we are honest, we will admit that we never have misgivings or doubts about ourselves, because we know exactly what we are capable or incapable of doing. But we do have misgivings about Jesus. And our pride is hurt even at the thought that He can do what we can’t.
My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says. My doubts spring from the depths of my own inferiority. If I detect these misgivings in myself, I should bring them into the light and confess them openly – “Lord, I have had misgivings about you. I have not believed in Your abilities, but only my own. And I have not believed in your almighty power apart from my understanding of it.
This made me see that I have been relying on my problem-solving skills to see a way out. I prayed, yes. I gave it to God, yes. But almost every day I spent time looking for a solution. As I read this and was writing in my journal about it, there was a half-done puzzle on the table beside me and it got me thinking.
I was trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to come up with the picture that God has in mind. But I don’t have the master picture to consult. I have pieces with colours and shapes, but when I can’t see the picture as a whole, I don’t know where to put them; I don’t know how they fit. As Chambers says, I was searching within to find how God was going to do things – where the pieces would go. If I hold onto a piece and insist on continuing to search for its place, I will try it in many places, getting increasingly frustrated. But if, as Chambers suggests, I bring the piece to the light and admit to the Divine that not only do I not know where it goes, but I have assumed that They also don’t know, then things can happen! I hand over the puzzle piece to the One who has the picture. I acknowledge that they have the master picture and can put the piece in its right place. This is a good image for me because I am acutely aware of its truth right now. As my family is in the middle of putting together a puzzle (the fourth in two weeks), I have been thankful that I have matured from my younger puzzling self. I always wanted to be the one to find where all the pieces go. It’s satisfying! But it can be lonely. I have learned that the joy of doing it together surpasses the satisfaction of being the one to solve it all. I have learned to hand over a piece and ask, “Where do you think that goes?” and see another’s satisfaction in finding its place.
I have been feeling stuck. Although I currently enjoy the situation as it is, it is not something I want for the long-term – I feel called to something more. But I have been unable to identify what that something more is. Although I have asked the Spirit for help, I haven’t actually given up the piece; I’m still holding it, looking for its place. Until I hand it over in faith, She can’t put it where it belongs.
As I walk through Lent, I am keeping this image of a puzzle in mind. Lent is about handing the pieces over to God. With the master picture in mind, They can look at the piece, see where it goes and tell me, “It goes here” or “I know where this goes, but we haven’t gotten to that part of the picture yet so let me hold it until we can put it in.” As you journey through Lent, be encouraged: God wants to help with the pieces of the puzzle. Have faith in the One who holds the whole picture and hand over the pieces.