Oxymoron: to Know a Mystery

Have you ever put together a puzzle? I have a 3-D puzzle of the Eiffel tower. I have even put it together, with the help of others. It’s a hard one! There are 4 surfaces, all with the same geometric design of the steel girders that are the structure of the tower. From the hundreds of pieces that have almost the same pattern on them, it’s hard to find the exact piece. There are subtle differences in color and shadow and size, and differences in shape and size of those appendages on each puzzle piece. Since I can’t concentrate deeply for a long time, I generally work on the puzzle, then leave a while, and then next time I go past the table on which this structure is taking place, I look for the next piece. Piece by piece, bit by bit. Finally, after many times past the table, I have four sides taking shape and can see the picture emerge from the scattered puzzle pieces. I can attach them to each other and have a nearly complete 3-D structure. The final pieces go into place almost easily. And there is The Eiffel Tower, in miniature.

Puzzles are hard, and take concentration. I usually work in little doses since it’s so hard. I work, take a break, and work some more. Real progress is made, bit by bit, until the project is completed.

There are similarities in grief. Do you fully understand all the elements and issues of your loss? Or is it like a puzzle? Do you have unanswered questions, at least for now? Why did she die? What could I have done? What do I do now? Will I ever feel joy or hope or trust again? Where was God when…? What is He thinking?!

It’s a puzzle. I propose that you plan to work through this puzzle the same way I worked on my Eiffel Tower – bit by bit, in small doses. I think eventually you will have an understanding that may not be complete, but will be somewhat satisfying to your heart and mind. The following scriptures passages are some of the puzzle pieces that led to my thinking:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Rom 8:26-28

We don’t know what to think or how to pray, but we do know that God is in it and with us and has a purpose. Part of the purpose is that we gain an understanding of Him.

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. Col 2:2-4.

Purposes such as remodeling us so that we don’t have any deficits:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

He will show you and me the way through your mysterious circumstances to the path of life:

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,… You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:9,11.

Because we will certainly see Him:

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12.

When we see Him and are finally at home with Him, the puzzle pieces will all fit together in a beautiful picture of His presence with us and His grace for us. So work on your puzzle of grief. Know that you can’t concentrate enough to fit it all together immediately. Take time. Trust Him in the process. Wait to see how beautiful He can make all the pieces tell a story in your life for His glory.