I stand, looking at the puzzle.
The outside border is done: you know, all those pieces with at least one straight line that eventually give the physical limits to the puzzle. On the table are groupings of different colors and designs, carefully separated. Inside the border, pieces locked into place, the puzzle is taking shape, coming towards the center at all sorts of different angles.
Those doing the puzzle must have the patience of Job. It is certain I don’t have it!
As I stand, gazing, I remember years ago . . .1977 – the first time my husband separated from our children and me. . . and what I learned from God about puzzles.
We are living in Belo Horizonte, our house on the side of a mountain overlooking the city. I love the view of the sky from our big veranda.
This evening, I sit and watch the changing colors in the bowl of the sky that hovers over a valley and the heart of a city of 3 million. While the sun is rapidly disappearing behind the hills on the left, to my right the dark night sky is creeping up from behind the mountains. This is home. Adventures here? Many! Laughter, along with tears bathed in prayers.
I am still, watching the sky; feeling the breeze and the change of temperature as the sun disappears from sight and night is suddenly here. I feel a slight chill, but don’t want to go in. I have much to talk over with God.
The house is emptier. Our older son married in the states. Our oldest daughter married in this living room, behind me. Our second daughter is preparing to go to the states to study, leaving our three younger ones at home.
But this is only a house, not a home. My husband put it on the market to sell, and my younger three and I must find a place to live. He would rather not live with us. I prefer not staying in Belo Horizonte, for what kind of an example are we now: but where do we go? I have no idea.
Ideas of different places chase each other through my mind as I face a new reality. One day, I’m sitting in utter desperation in the car, talking to God. I hear a voice (in my mind or outside my mind, I don’t know – but it is audible) and it is telling me “go to the United States.”
God knows I don’t want to go to the states. I tell Him: “Ok, I’ll go, Lord, if You really want me to go, but You know . . .” and I then give Him a list of things that have to happen for us to travel. I think I’m safe– for, although they are realistic needs, I know they are absolutely impossible!
God’s answer . . .
Four months later, the house is sold, I’ve packed and stored some things in
the attic (with the new owner’s permission), sold most of the furniture. Lanae and our youngest son, leave on a plane for the states while our two youngest daughters and I continue camping out in the house as I finish their travel papers.
The day finally comes.
My estranged husband* drives us across the city to the airport. I pray all the way that God will not let us get on that plane: for the motor to die or something! His answer is to get us safely to the airport.
The two girls and I board the plane to Rio, then another plane to Miami. Another plane to Dallas/Ft Worth, then the last plane to Portland. It’s a long trip…into the unknown, especially since I do not want to be here!
What does all of this have to do with a puzzle?
A trip like this is exhausting, and questions are battering my mind. Why, God!? What is going to happen? And Lord, there are lives in Belo Horizonte that I’ve been sharing with about YOU? What is going to happen to them? Why do we need to leave? ? ? ? ?
In my mind, I see a puzzle on a table. The outer borders are in place, some of the puzzle filled in, pieces spread out on the table, awaiting their turn to be fitted into their places. The Holy Spirit ** shows me that these pieces have to be placed in their proper order. There is no way to simply put a piece in the middle unless there is a specific place to lock it into…
My Father, God, is taking me out of that puzzle for now.
Some of the other pieces have to be put in place before He can use me there again. I can yell, kick and scream; or I can trust Him, relax in Him, let Him use me where and when He wants to. It’s my choice. I’m the one who decides.
This is still true today in 2015.
He continues using you and me in the puzzles of life. There is much I do not understand! He is the designer of each puzzle and knows where the pieces belong. I don’t. My role is to put myself, my life in His hands, allowing Him to place me where He desires.
It’s a challenge at times, yes! However, the longer I live, the more joy I find in loving and trusting God – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each day, some of joy, other times with tears; in all of them HE is here with me. He challenges me – in His Word and in my life – to trust Him. When I do, I discover joy and peace unimaginable! When I don’t trust Him, I’m miserable. Believe me, it is worth learning how to trust Him!
2 Cor 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. NIV
* estranged husband – I am not using his name. He is still living and I respect his privacy.
** Holy Spirit – I’m not being super-spiritual. He has different ways of speaking with each one of us. Are you aware of how He speaks with you?