Tag Archives: going through hard times

Missing Pieces

One of the things my family loves to do is puzzles. The more pieces and more difficult, the better. We can sit at the table each evening and pick away at a puzzle for weeks. Our favorite brand is Ravensberger because of the uniqueness of the pieces, the quality of the puzzle and the stunning pictures. It’s an honor to be able to be the one who puts in the last piece. Sometimes, as we start getting close to completing one, I like to hide a piece so that I get to be that person. There’s nothing more frustrating though than to get to the end, and a piece nor two is missing. An incomplete puzzle is no fun at all.

I believe God has a plan for each of our lives. It’s often like a puzzle that we piece together. Many times we’re digging and sorting through unrelated pieces trying to find two parts that fit together. As time goes by, we start to see the bigger picture of what God would like to do with our life. To be honest, once we get a glimpse of the picture on the box, it can be scary to us. We wonder how we can accomplish that or how could a God make something so amazing out of our life. Our natural inclination is to hide some of the pieces, especially the ones that aren’t as beautiful as the others. It’s for God to complete His plan when we keep some of the pieces of our lives from Him.

Psalm 18:20 says, “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him” (MSG). You see, the pieces we’re ashamed of or think are imperfect and ugly are the very ones that give the picture of our life depth. They’re the ones that show our scars and the struggles we’ve been through. It’s been my experience that those are the ones that God uses the most in completing His plan for our life because those are the ones people relate to. God allows us to go through struggle because it builds our faith and provides edges where our puzzle can connect with others to make their life complete. That only happens when we let a God use all the pieces of our lives.

Photo by Ryoji Iwata on Unsplash

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Free In The Fire

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

One of my favorite Bible stories when I was a kid had to be of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The King ordered that everyone bow down to his golden statue when they heard the music played. Of course the three Hebrew boys refused to do it. The king summoned them and ordered them to bow or to be thrown into a furnace. They told him to his face that they wouldn’t do it. He got so angry, he heated up the furnace seven times hotter than normal, bound their hands and feet and had them thrown into it,

The fire was so hot that the men who were throwing them into it died. When the men didn’t return right away, the King went to look. He turned and asked the people around him, “Didn’t we throw three into the fire?” The people around him said, “That’s right.” He replied, “But look! I see four men walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed. And the fourth one looks like the son of the gods!” He then called out to them to come out of the fire. When he examined them, not a hair was singed nor did they smell like smoke.

Many times in this life you and I will feel like we are bound up. There are times when we feel like we are in prison. Our hands and feet are shackled. We feel like we aren’t going anywhere and we can’t do anything. Being physically tied up is bad enough, but to be mentally or spiritually tied up is worse. It’s a real feeling of helplessness. When you couple that with walking through the fires of life, it can make things feel hopeless. Even in those times, we are to trust in God and His plan.

These three guys were not alone in the fire. In fact, it was in the fire that they were set free from their bondage. The scripture says they were walking around freely in the fire. God did not abandon them in the worst of times. He was standing there with them. It reminds me of the promise He makes to you and I in Isaiah 43:2. He said, “When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end – because I am your God, your personal God.”

That’s a promise you can hold into when you’re walking through deep waters, between a rock and a hard place or in the fire of oppression as the New Living Translation puts it. That version says, “You’ll not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” It goes on to say He won’t let any of these things destroy you because you are precious to Him. He gave His all for you. He loves you and will not let these present circumstances destroy you. He says you can walk freely in the fire. Trust in Him. He will not let you down. When you come out on the other side, you won’t be burned.

Photo by Ihor Malytskyi on Unsplash

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