By Pastor Jarren Rogers
“A soul filled with large thoughts of the Vine will be a strong branch, and will abide confidently in Him. Be much occupied with Jesus, and believe much in Him, as the True Vine.” – Andrew Murray
Annie and I have a new favorite pastime. It is watching YouTube videos of this guy solving puzzles. Now, I’m not talking about jigsaw puzzles or word searches. I’m talking about big, unique, complex puzzles.
No two are the same. Some are shaped like padlocks, others are giant wooden boxes with no discernable way to open it, some are interlocking metal loops that can never be undone. There are many, many different kinds.
The video consists of a man who introduces the puzzle, explains the goal, and then he tries to solve it. He usually sets out a timer so you can see how long it takes him. Sometimes he can solve it in ten minutes, other times it takes him multiple days of leaving and returning to the puzzle with new ideas or theories on how to solve it. But at the end of the video, the puzzle is always solved – the sealed box is opened, the padlock unlocked, the metal loops untangled.
As I thought about this, I thought about how many times we approach God’s plan much the same way. Many times, we view God’s purpose for our lives to be a puzzle that we must solve. It is as if what God is calling us to is a big, sealed, wooden box and our job is to figure out how to get it open.
And many times, we are like that guy in the video. We spend days and days trying to decode and solve the puzzle of God’s plan for us. We leave it and come back to it with new ideas and thoughts on what it might be. We grow frustrated and put the puzzle away for a while and then return to it when we can’t stop thinking about all the possible solutions.
Approaching God’s plan for you like a puzzle that needs to be solved can be aggravating and exhausting.
The good news is that isn’t what God expects of us. I don’t think God approaches our call like a game of battleship where He knows where the ships are placed and it’s our job to figure it out. “A-4?” “Miss.” “D-7?” “Miss.”
No. That isn’t how God wants us to find our call.
Imagine this. What if you were watching a video of someone who was going to solve a great, complex puzzle but instead of picking up the puzzle they just set it on the table and spend the next hour or two sitting in its presence.
That is how we discern the purpose and plan of God. Not by puzzling or guessing, but by simply abiding.
It is by spending time in His word and in His presence that He will reveal His plan. It isn’t a matter of asking the right questions, praying the right prayers, or logically trying to make out His will.
It is simply abiding with Him.