Kids are amazing. They can come up with an idea that is at the same time simple, funny and profound.
My son came out with an ingenious personality model.
He said, “Mummy, ask me how I would describe my friends based on a puzzle box.”
“Ok,” (says I), “How would you describe your friends based on a puzzle box?”
“No, ask me each friend one at a time.”
So, we started going through the people in his life, one at a time.
One friend has opened the puzzle box, looked at a puzzle piece, looked away, looked at it again, kept staring at it. Eventually he just picks it up and chucks it away.
Another friend has opened the puzzle box, put a C4 bomb inside, closed the puzzle box and ran away. The C4 bomb has exploded and all the puzzle pieces have gone everywhere.
Another friend has opened the puzzle box, put a couple of puzzle pieces together, then opened another puzzle box, put a puzzle piece from that puzzle box into the other puzzle box and has got really confused with all the pieces that are now jumbled up together, not where they’re supposed to be and he doesn’t know what to do next.
Another friend has opened the puzzle box, put pieces of the puzzle together, electrocutes a puzzle piece back out again(!), but then continues putting the puzzle pieces together in their right places (whew).
Another has looked at the puzzle box - and then walked away.
Another has got the puzzle box out, looked on you-tube for a tutorial about how to do it, and is trying to follow instructions to put it together.
Another person opens the puzzle box with enthusiasm, then to challenge themselves puts a blindfold on, studies the box (even through the blindfold) and is somehow fitting each piece into its correct place.
Another person opens the puzzle box and dumps the whole thing in the trash.
Another person opens the puzzle box and immediately asks for help.
See how many character traits there are in there and how he’s making sense of the people around him? He’s observing their strengths and weaknesses, and how they tackle life.
That ‘puzzle box personality model’ is my son’s way of forming an analogy of how people are viewing their life. How they perceive and respond. I thought it was inspired, and it provided a lot of fun and insight; understanding the people in his life.
But at a deeper level, he is perceiving it through the lens of them having a relationship with God and how they are responding. There are so many who are not responding. They don't know how. How many of them have been taught? Many of them are around age 11. Some of them are starting to search on their own. It's innate in them.
God says He has placed a knowledge of Him in every person's heart (Romans 1:19). That may seem young to be thinking about eternal salvation, but Jesus was only 12 when He was at the temple and knew He had to be in His Father's house (Luke 2:41-52). That helps put it in perspective, doesn't it? It's imperative we guide our kids into an understanding of everlasting life with their Father. And if we don't know how, they won't know how.
It got me thinking about people and life in general and how we want to deal with God in our lives. (Are you about to ditch this post? What person might you be in this analogy?)
It’s important to learn how to do a puzzle. You have to put the corner pieces in first, then get the sides, the framework done, so that you can put the rest of the puzzle together more easily. You have to take time to study each piece, the contour of the puzzle pieces, the colours, the shapes of each broken picture on each piece, and slowly, patiently, fit it all together.
It’s the same with the way we choose to live life.
It helps to study the complete picture on the box, but we don’t always have a picture to follow. If we look for God and diligently seek Him, He assures us He will give us the instructions and will help us, but if we don’t, we don’t receive that benefit. We have to be prepared to work at it.
The bible is the puzzle box, where all our pieces are kept.
As I reflected on my son’s analogy a scripture came to mind.
Ezekiel 12:2 (NIV)
“Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see, and ears to hear but they do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”
What are we doing with our puzzle box God’s given us? What are we doing with all the pieces inside? Are we looking to His instruction manual (the bible) for guidance? Or do all our pieces get so mixed up we can't figure it out? Do we even believe there’s a bigger picture that God wants us to put together?
Who’s ready to pick up the puzzle box, and have a good look at the pieces left for you to put together? Who’s ready to study the picture on the box, metaphorically speaking (the bible) and put the personal picture together that God has already painted, especially for you?
Wouldn’t it be sad for that puzzle to be C4 bombed?
Wouldn’t it be unfortunate to run away from it when there’s other people around you, and God, to help put your picture together?
Wouldn’t it be tragic to live our last day, take our last breath, and realise we had a chance, but we blew it, and there was no more time to scramble for each piece?
I pray we have eyes to see, and ears to hear, that we would know the beauty of what God has called us to. I pray we have a heart to embrace the complete picture and not give up and walk away. I pray we have the tenacity to keep picking up each piece and trying again to find the right place to put every single one – that could be represented in each day of our lives.
Every day, I pray, you make a choice to work on your puzzle so that it looks like the picture God painted on the outside of your box. And I’ll work on mine. God always gives us a new day, a new moment to try again.
Jeremiah 29:11-14 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”