The Darth Vader lenticular puzzle boasts of a mere 100 pieces of packaged frustration, and each time one of my kids brings it out I begin to perspire just a little. While marriage, parenthood, and choosing a career are among the greatest challenges in life, completing a lenticular puzzle should be up there along with them. It’s like a jedi mind trick that’s turned to the dark side. What is a lenticular puzzle you ask? In laymen’s terms: a puzzle with an image that shifts when you see it from different angles. Puzzles can be a challenge – trying to match up one of the parts with the whole. But with a lenticular puzzle, there’s the added challenge of determining which ‘part’ belongs to which ‘whole’. My kids look to me for help because, most of the time, I can see the big picture.
Like in a puzzle, we each hold a piece of life that fits with the whole, the big picture. However, life’s pieces don’t always make sense. Sometimes we can become confused or discouraged from not knowing how life’s circumstances fit in with the whole. Many of us wonder why we experience relationship stresses, injustices, or physical/emotional suffering, just to name a few. We may feel as though our prayers aren’t being heard, or worse, we may even doubt God’s existence. But, are we merely frustrated or angry because things are not arranged according to an image we have in mind? In those times it’s important to understand that God knows where all those pieces fit best, even when we don’t.
God isn’t chugging along experiencing history like we are. He lives outside of time, in eternity, where He “sees” all of human history before Him, and from this vantage point His Wisdom guides us. At the same time, God isn’t disconnected from us; He is near us. C.S. Lewis, in his book Miracles, uses the metaphor of a film being displayed to describe how God produces all of history while involving us. He writes, “What the film displays to us as it unrolls already contains the results of our prayers and of all our other acts.” In some profound way God weaves together our free actions with His “all-knowing” vision into one narrative that has everyone’s good in mind. But, we are not always pleased by events in the story. Often, our emotionally-charged prayers, such as a healing for a family member, aren’t answered the way we want. Yet, those events always lead to an ending written with our happiness in mind. As the Bible says, God has “plans for your welfare, not for evil.” (Jer. 29:11)
When my kids haul out the Darth Vader lenticular puzzle, they look to their father to spend time with them, and help them see how the pieces fit together. Spend time our Heavenly Father. Life deals out it’s own complicated puzzles in our relationships, our choices, and our prayers. We are not alone. God wants to spend time with us, and help us better understand our life puzzle.
by Scott Roy