This week we’ve considered puzzles—primarily jigsaw puzzles—in relation to our worship.

We’re going to wrap up today with a look at the crossword.

In fact, there’s a story told that Jesus himself started a crossword puzzle two days before Easter, but got stuck on 2 across…

Sometimes you’re able to fly right through a crossword puzzle. All the clues make sense. One word after another drops into place and every little square gets filled with the proper letter until the whole thing is completed. It can be kinda fun, but not much of a challenge.

Other crosswords are more challenging. You’re zipping along then get stuck on a word you just can’t figure out. Often times progress continues by filling in the words around it. And when enough letters get filled in, the difficult words become clear. This can even happen several times in the same puzzle. But being able to overcome the challenges increases the level of fun had in figuring out the puzzle.

Don’t miss that. More challenges equal more fun—when you’re able to complete the puzzle.

However, there are times I grab a puzzle that has words I absolutely cannot figure out. I come at it from every angle I can think of. I fill in every letter around it I can but it’s never enough to help me find the right word. It can be frustrating to puzzle over words with all the key letters missing.

Have you ever turned to the answer key in the back of the book?

I have. These days I don’t even hesitate. I’m working the puzzle to have some fun, not to try and prove anything to anybody else.

There are times when life is just like a crossword puzzle.

Sometimes everything fits. Prayers are answered, life goes as expected, and I understand it all.

Sometimes life is one challenge after another. Prayers bounce off the ceiling, life gets stuck, and I don’t understand anything. And then I’ll read a devotional or hear a sermon or attend a Bible study and God’s Word suddenly blossoms and reveals exactly what I needed to hear for the puzzle to make sense.

Then there are times I simply can’t unravel the mystery. Times I can’t work the puzzle. No matter how hard I try or how long I give it—the puzzle continues to seem so senseless. I can’t even fill in the words AROUND the puzzle I’m working. Nothing works. The blanks remain.

Those are the times I want to be able to peek at the back of the book at the answer key. But I can’t.

Often when people face these moments one of two things happens: It either blows their faith apart, or it causes them to dig deeper into trusting God.

Today, I encourage you to trust God.

There will always be things to which we have no answers. To which WE have no answers. But we can rest assured that there ARE answers which God holds. And there will come a time when those answers will be revealed to us.

There will come a day when we sit down with God and read the back of the book together.

At the moment all that we can see are puzzling reflections in a mirror; then [we will see] face to face. I know in part, for now; but then I’ll know completely—through and through—even as I’m completely known.

     1 Corinthians 13:12 NTE

Today, simply read this aloud: “Father God, I trust your timing and your purposes, and I believe you are showing your love to me even when you don’t reveal the answers I so desperately want. I ask that, by your grace, you will help my trust in you to grow both deep and wide. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.