In seminary, one of my favorite professors said that she had become an Old Testament scholar because she loved puzzles. I love them, too. Nothing is more relaxing than the daily Jumble in the newspaper. Or trying my hand at a logic problem.
I wondered at this, though… what do puzzles have to do faith or the Bible? Isn’t it all clear, obvious, easily understood? Right…
There are things that are clear: Love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22:36-40) for instance. But wait. Who is my neighbor? What does it mean to love her or him? What does it mean to love that person as – in the same way – I love myself? Oh. So maybe there are questions buried in this life of faith, even in the things that seems simple or straightforward. And this doesn’t even touch on those passages of Scripture and doctrines of faith that do not make sense on the surface. Or whose application to our lives is less clear than their application to the people who first heard and believed.
Eugene Peterson has written –
“Our lives are not puzzles to be figured out. Rather, we come to God, who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives. The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God. God is the center from which all life develops. If we use our ego as the center from which to plot the geometry of our lives, we will live eccentrically.”