Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dark Alleys and Puzzles

Have you ever found yourself in a dark place?

I don't mean a dark alley or a dimly lit room.

Sometimes our doubts, our fears, our anxieties, our shame... they drive us into hiding. They take us to a really dark place. We find ourselves lonely and feeling like, in some way, we're not normal. We look around and it seems like everyone else has it all together. Everyone else is happy and thriving, or at least dealing well. That's how it seems. But that's not how it is.

In our restlessness, we withdraw. We find shelter in our dark places.

                              Do you know God never meant for you to be alone? Do you know 
                                             God never meant for you to suffer alone?  

Alone in your dark place you won't find answers. You won't find peace and you won't find comfort. You will simply find loneliness and despair.

It's easy to turn your back on fellowship with other believers when you're in that dark place. And it's easy to convince ourselves that church is the LAST thing we need. It's easy, but it's wrong.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up...
1 Thessalonians 5:11  

Have you ever known anyone who had all the answers?  Sure, you know people who THINK they have all the answers. But do they really? No one person can solve the mysteries of this jigsaw puzzle that we call life all on their own. Not gonna happen. But, you know what? Christ DOES have all the answers.  And He works in the lives of believers and gives us individual pieces to that puzzle.

He doesn't give all the answers to one person. We, as believers, learn from our mistakes and from our pain. We each hold wisdom and knowledge we wouldn't have if it weren't for those life experiences, those joyful victories and those painful losses. We understand Christ's love through those experiences and we mature in our faith. What happens when we fail to share that understanding and knowledge?  

That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ...
Colossians 2:2

Your pain and your blessing have a purpose. You hold a piece of the puzzle. When you dovetail your wisdom with mine we find answers. We see Christ revealed.  We see the puzzle begin to fashion into an incredible masterpiece.  A masterpiece created by God's hand. Courage comes to the fearful. Joy comes to the weeping. Praise comes to the lips of the ashamed. Comfort comes to the hurting. And Jesus comes to the lost. 

Don't run to that dark place. Don't forsake fellowship with other believers. Don't hold tightfisted to your pain. I may hold the puzzle piece that you desperately need. You may hold the puzzle piece that I've been longing to see. 

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25

Now I'm in the mood to put together a puzzle.  See you at church Sunday!

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