I never thought a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle would lead to a blog post. I’ve not done puzzles since childhood, but recently decided to give them a try. I’m now working on my second 1,000 piece puzzle that I obtained used at a thrift store. I was nervous that pieces might be missing. But being an advanced puzzle, with the box in good shape, and the pieces still in the original plastic bag in the box – it made me hopeful that all the pieces would be present. Curses on someone who would donate a puzzle with missing pieces!
This puzzle is proving harder than the first one I did. I think the picture is more challenging, and I am also working on it alone. With the first puzzle, I had a little assistance. As I slowly work on it, I’ve thought of many analogies to faith, doubt, and the struggle to believe!
I’ve often said that Christianity answers more questions than it doesn’t for me. There are puzzling concerns but it puts more of the puzzle together than any of the other options out there – whether another religion like Buddhism or irreligious options like agnosticism. I have faith that the puzzle will one day be complete, and things that don’t make sense eventually will.
As I’ve been working on my tangible puzzle, I realized how much our presuppositions or preconceived ideas influence us. Because of my suspicion that the used puzzle might be missing pieces, it has affected how I do the puzzle. When I am struggling in a certain section, I automatically think that pieces must be missing, doubt the integrity of the person who donated it, and sometimes even quit in frustration. Likewise, I think our underlying presuppositions influence how we view aspects of the Christian faith. There is a difference between healthy skepticism and cynical skepticism. Are we really looking for answers, or just looking for any excuse not to believe? Do we have a heart of faith or disbelief? Many things can influence how we “see” or perceive things. Indeed, two equally intelligent people can perceive the same “evidence” differently – it being solid to one but shoddy to the other.
Several times I was about to conclude that certain puzzle pieces were missing, when lo and behold I found the pieces. They were there all along but I’d simply overlooked them. Likewise, we can overlook evidences for faith or fail to see glimpses of the supernatural. Faith is a journey, and it may take time to find the answers which are indeed before us. I believe that God rewards the honest seeker with deeper understanding. Remember it is faith seeking understanding, not understanding seeking faith.
Sometimes we need fresh eyes. Last night I was 99% sure that 3 puzzle pieces were missing. I had two sections completed but was unable to connect them due to the 3 pieces that I could not find in the diminishing pile of loose pieces. I was about to trash the puzzle, but asked my spouse to come look at the pieces first. He could not find the needed pieces either and was about to agree with me, when he suddenly said “hey wait a minute! there are no missing pieces”! He noted that the puzzle was a little crooked and the so called missing pieces were where the puzzle needed to be straightened and connected together! Duh! I’m now glad that I didn’t give up and trash the puzzle. Likewise, when it comes to the struggle to believe, we may think there is a lack of answers or something missing. While all we actually need is a different perspective or to re-align our thinking.
Despite all my doubts, this jigsaw puzzle continues to come together. It is about 70% complete and I can see the critical parts of the picture. Most of the remaining parts are peripheral. Christianity paints a beautiful portrait of God’s plan for this world. I don’t want to abandon my belief due to some missing pieces. We need to press on and persevere in our faith. The pieces that are together…are enough…and I trust that one day the picture will be whole.