I have been thinking much about how God has chosen to share His-Story with us through Spirit-energized revelation, which has inspired a record of its reality in The Book, our Scriptures. It is remarkable and impressive to think this story has been written over a span of 1600 years by 40-plus authors including kings, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, poets, statesmen, and scholars. With this in mind, I want to encourage you to read The Book with an open heart in order to understand and experience this incredible story of God’s revealed purpose.
Moses was in the Wilderness, Jeremiah in a dungeon, Daniel on a hillside and a palace, Paul inside prison walls, Luke while travelling, and John on an island called Patmos. Some authors wrote from the depths of sorrow and despair while others from the heights of joy. According to Paul’s letter to Timothy, the story we read in Scripture can be learned from infancy. “There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word, we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” 
A WHIMSY JIGSAW
My wife has been working on a whimsy jigsaw puzzle. Unlike other puzzles, the whimsy pieces are shaped quite differently as you can see in the header. There is a metaphor here but without stretching the analogy of the puzzle too far there are however parts we will be able to relate to. In my last post UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED the core of the message is about Christ’s life being formed within us.
The whimsy puzzle is described as such because of a historical link to the puzzles of the Victorian past, a whimsy is a particular puzzle where some pieces are cut into recognizableshapes such as a bird or butterfly. Often designed to match the jigsaw’s theme, whimsies add a fun and playful twist to our puzzles! But the challenge of the puzzle for us becomes real when the pieces seem as though they do not fit in the way we are used to but may simply be placed alongside each other rather than interlocking one another.
LEARNING HIS WAYS
The God of unstoppable grace and love, power, and purpose is not whimsical but His ways are quite unlike our own. The puzzle metaphor comes alive here as we patiently work out which piece of the puzzle goes where much like our personal walk with Jesus as we listen for and respond to His voice and as a consequence walk in obedience and fulfill His purpose.
God’s ways are always best for us even when they confront the seeming unfairness of life, the lies of loud distracting media voices, and the puzzling bewilderment of adversity that contributes to bringing about our own sense of purposeful living. Like a puzzle spread across our table, the pieces are all there for us to work out where and how they fit to form a picture so it is that the various parts of our lives are slowly transformed to reveal a person in the image of Jesus.
We know what the completed picture of the puzzle looks like because it’s on the box but how do we see and experience life with God with all these seemingly unrelated pieces? The picture is in The Book. In Luke’s account of the Good News, we read of people placed together like John the Baptist, Herod, Abijah, Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Aaron. Some of these characters we know well while others we may have heard about but know little of how they fit within the narrative.
While reading we discover that names are related and people are connected within this story. Some of these names give background context to the main characters, their lives and purpose, their doubt and faith, and their surprise and significance both seen and unseen. Elizabeth had been barren and this was frowned upon within their society. Zechariah has been chosen to burn incense in the sanctuary. He is met by the angel Gabriel who reveals the birth of their son whose name is to be John. This newborn baby comes into their lives because of His promise and the one who was to prepare the way of the Lord is given to two older people whose walk with God was outstanding, “both were righteous in His sight.”
It is also true that we know what The Book has to say about what it means to live our lives in wholehearted obedience to Jesus even with all that interrupts and distracts us we can live this life effectively in His power. We have much to learn about the ways of God. His ways and ours are quite different but He has purposed to teach us how we can learn to know His ways found in the central figure of the Gospels – JESUS!
As with the puzzle, so may we give attention to participate in the changes within our lives as the Holy Spirit transforms us within and enjoy His satisfaction whenever a new piece fits into place. We can encourage ourselves that He who has begun good work in us will complete it. Each new piece enlarges our perspective of Jesus and reminds us what God is doing in our lives and in His Church. Let patience be our watchword. “That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” 
IT TAKES TIME
It takes time, patience, and determination. Christ Jesus is at work within His Church listening to our prayers, sharing His wisdom, imparting His grace, and revealing a picture of a new creation reality that truly honours Him as Lord of all. Today’s secular media has no idea what God is accomplishing by His Spirit so don’t be distracted or duped into thinking what the Church looks like through the eyes of the world’s propaganda. The real action is God initiated and mostly unseen until the pieces are fitted together. It’s then we are filled with wonder and awe-struck by God’s faithfulness as we see His workmanship.
Those moments of face-to-face engagement with Jesus in Scripture tell an amazing story of the real picture of life with God which take priority over life’s puzzles and mysteries, failings and faults, challenges and uncertainties. Precious moments of His life at work open our eyes toward the revelation of God’s grace and the patient and careful work going on inside of us as we experience that wonder-filled transformation into His likeness. We then start to understand the significance of Peter’s powerful statement which carries an incredibly reassuring message of hope, “Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” 
As with the puzzle and the unexpected life challenges we face, we see something beautiful happening within our lives and His Church. The pieces fit together and reveal His redemptive craftsmanship, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus.” 
Be patient, rejoice, and be ecstatically confident knowing the interlocking work of the Holy Spirit within our lives is revealing Jesus, the Lord of Life. Be assured God is at work building His Church, shaping our lives His way and He wants us to cooperate with Him in that wonderful process. Why would we not?