A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Marilyn Bennett
During the pandemic I began to renew my passion for jigsaw puzzles. Putting together a 500 or 1000 piece puzzle is not easy. Sometimes, I will search for a obvious piece and when I can’t find it, I assume it must be missing. Yet, to my surprise, the piece shows up (it was always there) as I put the puzzle together. What should have been obvious had escaped my careful scrutiny. This “missing piece” phenomena can also apply to studying our Bibles. What I may not be able to understand today, I begin to understand if I continue to prayerfully study Scripture.
Another phenomena is when I put a piece where it doesn’t belong even though it seems to fit. When I do that, other pieces don’t seem to fit either. However, when I remove the piece that doesn’t belong, suddenly the other pieces fit. The “misfit piece” phenomena teaches me that what I may have thought to be true might not be true. By taking out that misfit truth, I am able to fit in what truly matters. An example would be believing Jesus was only a man and not God. This belief does not fit what Jesus says, “the Father and I are one” (John 10:30, also see John 10:38; 14:10-11; 17:21) or that his enemies plotted to kill him because he claimed to be God (John 5:18; Mark 2:6-7 with 3:6; Matthew 9:3 with 12:14).
Finally, after all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, I sometimes find one piece still missing. I call this the “lost piece” phenomena. I look high and low but cannot find the piece, so I give up. Sometimes, months later, the piece appears.
Jesus identified the phenomena of being lost in his story about the lost coin.
“Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:8-10).
This example of the lost coin reveals the persistency of God. God never stops looking for the lost in order to save them. This brings out my own inadequacy. I do not keep looking. I give up, but God never does. God is not willing that anyone should perish (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9).
Another example is the parable of the lost son. This parable focuses on the love of the father who runs to meet the son who squandered his inheritance (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus reveals that God is is eager to meet us where we are and love us regardless of what we have done.
Here is where the analogy between the puzzle and theological truths disintegrates. When I look for a piece to complete the puzzle I give up. God does not give up on us because he truly loves us.
The “missing piece” phenomena teaches me to carefully examine Scripture in order to have a right understanding of God. The “misfit piece” phenomena teaches me to carefully discard what is not true in order to fit what is true about myself and God. The “lost piece” phenomena teaches me that God never gives up looking for the lost. God is not content with leaving the lost as if they were dead. Instead, God’s greatest desire is to make the dead come alive.
If you looked up these Scripture passages, you are on your way toward understanding God. Begin the journey. Never give up. Keep on looking for the pieces to fit. God is eagerly waiting to teach you because God loves you.