June 28, 2010

Puzzling Grace

Romans 8:28-39

In all things God works for the good of those who love him … called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28


Recently we bought a used 1,000-piece puzzle featuring a white building and a sign: “Welcome. Waldo and Spinnie Treehopper, Proprietors.”

While sorting through the pieces, I wondered, “Where are all the white pieces?” Putting together the edges confirmed my suspicions. The pieces inside the box did not match the picture on the box. I was confident we could still do the puzzle, but soon we discovered that it was a puzzle we had worked before, so we discarded it.

Richard Foster wrote, “It is rare for life to go exactly our way.” When I work a jigsaw puzzle, I am often convinced it won’t go my way. A piece is missing or a strange-looking piece won’t fit. Of course, I usually find every piece, and they all fit together as the puzzle-maker designed.

The puzzle box often says, “1,000 Fully Interlocking Pieces.” When God looks at each of us, he says something similar. We are all interconnecting pieces in the puzzle and plan of life.

When our doubts linger on the “puzzle” part, our faith works to focus on the “interconnecting” and “plan” parts. In God’s time and by grace our puzzling life will be part of a complete, beautiful picture.

John Henry Newman is right: “We are not born at random.” No, “in all things God works … according to his purpose.”

God of abounding grace, we give thanks today that in your time our lives will fit perfectly into your plan of grace. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

About the author — Dale Vander Veen

Dale Vander Veen is a retired Christian Reformed pastor who with his wife, Edith, has ministered in California, Washington, and Michigan. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He currently writes a daily e-mail series of devotions.

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