I have to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy jigsaw puzzles.  In our coffee shop, we often have a jigsaw puzzle in process on the big coffee table that sits between the couch and loveseat.  People will stop by for a cup of coffee and linger at the puzzle, put in a piece or two and some even sit down and spend thirty minutes to an hour working on it.  The box lid, which shows what the completed puzzle will look like, is always sitting on the table.  If it gets moved, stuck behind a couch cushion or misplaced, there is an instant uproar.  “How can we work on the puzzle if we don’t know what it is supposed to look like?”  We like to know what we’re working toward.  What it will look like when completed?

The same is true in Christianity.  There seems to be an insatiable desire in man to find out what the outcome is going to be.  What will the end of the world look like?  What does a mature Christian act like?  Where will the will of God take me?  All of these questions keep us from a life of faith as they keep our focus on self.  The very nature of faith is based in what we cannot see, but know to be true.  If we remain focused on how we are supposed to look, act or feel, we lose sight of the completed work of the cross of Jesus Christ.

It seems that our zeal for wanting to know “what it looks like” has even led us to take the lives of the apostles and the early church and think that is the equivalent of a box lid for a Christian’s life puzzle.  We have tried to take Paul and Peter’s observations regarding relationships, worship practices and church structure so we can draw on the box of the puzzle of Christian life and say “Aha!  I have found how it works best!”  The very idea that we can capture the enormous plan of God and display it as the final product is absurd.  God will not be placed in a box or be limited to the picture on top of a box!

Some may argue that the Bible is the puzzle box which we can use as a model for the building of a Christian life.  Take any group of Christians, though, and regardless of their denomination or background, they will come to a point of disagreement with interpretation of Bible passages.  The Bible was never meant to be the substitute for the amazing manifestation of Jesus that occurs minute by minute in His Body, the Body of Christ.  We are not clones that will eventually chant together in monotone of the supremacy of God.  We are individuals who are filled with the life of Christ, joined to the Lord, and residents in a kingdom that is foreign to our earthly mind and understanding.  Our personalities are part of the hues of the palette of God’s choosing as the beautiful portrait of His only Son is splashed across the backdrop of all eternity.  Our differences in language, thought, ideas and actions are used to create what no man could ever design – the Bride of Christ.  Our glory and wonder is based in all that He is and although He has chosen to dwell within us, the focus will forever be on Him alone.

Those who live for Christ are not given a picture of what it looks like.  We have been given snapshots in the photo album of history which show reflections of the surpassing greatness of God’s purpose, but the masterpiece is not available to be published on our Facebook page or printed in our Christian magazines.  No one can fully describe and define the dimensions of the love of God, let alone the nature and character of God.  Our expressions of His work and the examples we find in Scripture are not even bullet points in the outline of His eternal purpose.  We are stifled by mortal words, hindered by human thought and although our exclamations of His worth are wondrous to behold, they still fall short of the magnitude of God’s greatness.

Truly, we are destined to a life of complete trust in the living Christ as we follow the direction and leading of the Holy Spirit.  Since the piecing together of the scenes of life are not logically explained or figured out by our human understanding, we must release the need to know into the hands of the Almighty God.  Recently I reviewed pictures from the early days of marriage with my husband.  We laughed, cried and remembered together the journey those pictures portrayed.  I realized that our lives today are so much more than those pictures could ever describe.  The love we share goes beyond our wedding album or the journals we’ve written.  This is true in all we know of God.  We can rejoice in our sorrows, shed tears in the midst of blessing and remember all that we know of the One who loves us most.  This should not limit us, though, from experiencing the height and depth, length and width of the love and mercy of God, our Father as He reveals to us His faithfulness and peace.

There is rest, joy and great contentment when we gaze upon the glory of God and the work that He is performing in and through us.  We can stop looking for the puzzle box or contemplating if there’s a missing piece somewhere.  He who has begun the work is faithful to complete it and He it is who said “It is finished”.  May we look to the Author and Finisher of our Faith as He remains our only focus, source and goal.