PRINCIPLE: “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.”
I like doing puzzles. Granted, it can eat up large chunks of time; but I easily justify it by claiming it serves as a good diversion from the normal, daily routines and stresses, and it works to sharpen my mind (which some days needs a lot of sharpening!)
In doing puzzles I've learned that at least one thing is inevitable – there will comes points where I'm stuck and can't find any pieces that fit anywhere. I've learned that, rather than stressing and quitting, it's best to switch positions, to go to the other side of the table, to get a different perspective. “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.” It's amazing how many pieces I then find that fit. And it's all because I put myself in a position to get a new perspective.
I've also learned that the same is true when it comes to viewing and understanding life. The Bible is filled with admonitions that say, in essence, “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.” Consider Joseph's words to his brothers about understanding the circumstances of life: “Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people's lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God...But Joseph said to them, “Don't be afraid; I can't put myself in the place of God. You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened.” (Gen. 45:5-8 & 50:19-20 GNT) “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.” Reflect on Paul's words about viewing other people: “So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” (2 Cor. 5:16 NLT) “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.”Think about Jesus' words to Martha about her dead brother Lazarus: “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40) “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.” Viewing life's circumstances, other people, and the issues of life and death from Jesus' perspective rather than our own provides new, significant sight.
Jesus explains it this way: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my words and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) Once we believe in God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son, we live in the environment of life rather than of death. We see circumstances, people, and all of life differently; we see it from God's perspective. And to be sure we understand how to cross over, Jesus told us “If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” (John 7:17) We change sides, we cross over, we move into the environment of life by obeying – by doing what Jesus says to do. Perhaps it's time to quit trying to understand and figure out everything that happens to us in life, to stop evaluating and judging people from our own prejudices, to cease from focusing on death and darkness and to cross over to Jesus' sight. We do it anytime, every time, we obey. Just do what He says, think likes He thinks, serve like He serves, love like he loves. It will be amazing how many pieces will fit. “When puzzled by the puzzle, switch places.”