Christmas: A Puzzling Puzzle


Christmas. A long, long time ago. I must have been 8 or 9 yrs old. My family was into puzzles back then. The Christmas presents were unwrapped. Things had settled down. I was on the floor putting together the pieces of the big, giant, 1000 piece puzzle. Next to me was my brother, Glenn. He was two years younger than I. Before him on the floor were the pieces of a giant 500 piece puzzle. Across the room my baby sister, Terry, was working with one of those toddler puzzles. It had only 4 or 5 pieces – squares, circles, triangles, and stuff like that. (Sorry, Kelly and Scott, you weren’t born yet).

Every now and then my baby sister Terry would get puzzled by her puzzle. She was learning that squares do not fit into circles and rectangles do not fit into triangles.

Totally absorbed in my puzzle I became frustrated as my concentration was suddenly and quickly broken. The source? My brother, Glenn.

“Hey,” says he, “Where does this go?”

Needless to say I wasn’t a happy camper. Here’s the deal: Glenn, puzzled by his puzzling puzzle, wanted help with his puzzling puzzle – from me. Yes. From me. And, that wasn’t going to happen.

You see – I was so puzzled by my own puzzling puzzle that I didn’t have time to help Glenn or anyone else who was puzzled by their puzzling puzzle. I was just too puzzled by my puzzling puzzle to un-puzzle anyone else’s puzzling puzzle. Puzzling, isn’t it?

Isn’t life sometimes like that. Puzzled by the puzzle of our puzzling lives we confront our human frailty and we turn to others who are just as frail as we are for help and guidance – and they’re just as puzzled by their puzzling puzzles as we are.

Years have passed since that puzzling Christmas. Since then I’ve discovered that new puzzles constantly crop up – life puzzles that reveal my frailty and my faith. Nevertheless, our life puzzles must to be solved. Part of our struggle – and our growth – is to put the pieces together. It’s that way for all of us.

Someone reading this is puzzled about raising a difficult child. Someone else is puzzled by how to restore the fire in their marriage. Someone else, is puzzled about how to overcome financial difficulties.

What’s puzzling you? What frailties and weaknesses are being exposed? Which one’s are being denied? And, where do you go? And, where do you turn when you’re puzzled by your puzzling puzzle?

Hint #1 -- If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God and God alone. [James 1:5-6].

Hint #2 – Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. [Proverbs 3:5 The Message].

Hint #3 -- [Jesus said] “…without Me you can do nothing. [John 15:5]. “How can I do this,” you ask, “if I can’t sense God’s presence?” Answer: By faith. Remember, faith is a choice, not a feeling.

-- When I Can’t Find God by Dr. John Dee Jeffrries

Selected excerpts Chapter 2 - Faith and Frailty

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