Recently our daughter and niece studied for and obtained a drivers permit. For weeks the two begged the parents to quiz them. After reading the manual myself again, because it has been too many years, I was able to form questions that we quizzed in the car or at home. One thing that I say to all my kids and that was profound in the manual was that most accidents occur when someone doesn’t know what is going on.
Every time I get in the car my prayer is for God to help me pay attention. You see I think about this more because I have been in some accidents and struggle with anxiety when I drive, particularly at night. When I am teased about this, I think, these people just don’t know how sudden accidents happen. I’ve also told my children many times that when they are in the vehicle to think of it as a bullet that you are in charge of.
Much of our lives are lived with a deeply personal reaction to our past experiences. Whether we have been through trauma, have lost trust in someone, or even how we have been molded by our parents, teachers, or daily experiences. We inlay those pieces into a complex puzzle as we grow up.
I really love to do jigsaw puzzles and while doing one, the pieces are first bordered in the like manner of a foundation. A foundation that must have every piece and directs you to the proper layout of the many other pieces. As you move along, you have a picture to guide you. Some pieces look like they fit but they are not quite right. Colors can confuse us and changes or rearranging must go on throughout the creation.
As a middle-ager, I often stand back and look at my puzzle (my life) and try to make the appropriate adjustments. Ephesians 4:13 tells us that we should reach for Christian maturity. In verse 14, that we henceforth should no more be children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.
We need to know what we are about. Jesus once said He must be about His Father’s business and so must we (Luke 2:49). Think for a moment about an alcoholic… “he is little better than a cheese under the spigot of a wine cask; he lives to keep his body well soaked that it may be all the nicer for the worms. The material part of us ought to keep growing gradually thinner, to let the soul out when its time comes. And the soul ought to keep growing bigger and stronger everyday until it bursts the body as a growing nut does its shell. If instead a body becomes thicker and thicker, lessening the room within, it squeezes the life out of the soul, and when such a man’s body dies, his soul is found a shriveling thing, too poor to be a comfort to itself or to anybody else.” These words are from a favorite author of mine, George MacDonald. He lived in Scotland during the 19th century, and was a prolific writer who used his gifts to be a part of the restoration of the church.
Upon reading these words I noticed that I have been slow to work on my puzzle. I don’t know about you, but whenever I sit to do a jigsaw puzzle, I don’t want to leave it, sometimes forsaking meals and bedtime until it is complete. I am also one of those who will not go to bed if I am playing the game Free Cell until I have won. Why is it that we don’t have that determination in growing our soul, in striving to mature? We are so bombarded with the world, our busyness, the cacophony of opinions, anecdotes, and foolish idle sounds (Ezekiel 26:13) that we sometimes don’t know what we are about.
Have you ever almost finished a jigsaw puzzle only to find that one or two pieces are missing? This vexes me sore! As we work toward a closer perfection, let us try not to loose any necessary pieces. If you are yet young, know that one day later you will stand back and look at your puzzle and hope that it is forming in a way that would please our Lord. Remember “He which began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phillipians 1:6).
By Jennifer Hahn
Jennifer is a member of the Calhan, CO congregation where she serves as secretary under her husband and stays at home with her family. She has two married daughters, one daughter at home and three boys still at home, all of whom are homeschooled. She dearly loves the farm life.