God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
These blessings keep coming and are beginning to pile up. All of them invite a lifetime of attention and reflection. Here are four more from verses 7 and 8 of the previous reading we didn’t get to mention:
He purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son.
He forgave our sins.
He pours out his grace and kindness on us.
He showers us with all wisdom and understanding.
Think of these and more of them to come like puzzle pieces of a large intricate puzzle. For now, let’s call the puzzle “Every Spiritual Blessing.” We have opened the box and turned all the pieces over, and Paul is now beginning to sort them for us.
We are putting together a massive puzzle. Isn’t that a great image for our lives? I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent most of my time just trying to get all the pieces of my own life together and on the table for assembly. I thought my life was the puzzle. Paul shows us the puzzle is infinitely larger, cosmic in dimension, exquisitely brilliant in design, and intimately personal in its detail.
You know the secret to putting a puzzle together, don’t you? Have you ever tried to assemble a jigsaw puzzle without looking at the box top? The secret is seeing the big picture. That’s what the Holy Spirit is up to through this revelatory letter from Paul to the church. Check this out: God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan.
The puzzle is the big picture. And though my life is in pieces, it is only one piece. The pieces of my life will come together when I find out where my piece fits into the whole. Even better, without my piece, the whole is not complete. The best news? Jesus is bringing everything together. Isn’t that what the text is saying?
And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth.
I think the challenge for so many of us, particularly Americans, is that we think God has a wonderful plan for our lives. Indeed he does; it’s just not all about my life. The picture on the box top of the puzzle is not my life but God’s plan. The point of the Bible is to reveal God’s plan, and, with the gift(s) of the church, to reveal to us how our lives fit in, connect, and gloriously serve the whole of it.
God has a plan, but it’s not for my life. The plan is his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. My life and your life matter more than we could possibly imagine, but we will have little idea of it until we begin to glimpse the box top.
Yes, our lives can feel like jigsaw puzzles in and of themselves—and they are. It’s when we see how the piece of the puzzle of our lives fits into the larger plan that the dislocated pieces of our lives will come together in myriad, marvelous fashion. Until then, we will continue to be puzzled.
God’s plan is not for my life. My life is for God’s plan. See the difference.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, through whom all things have been created and who holds all things together. Set me free from my endless focus on myself. Reveal to me the beauty of the bigger picture. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
How might I lift my focus off of what feels like the messy jigsaw puzzle of my own life to see the bigger picture and plan?
How does this puzzle image help you process what God is up to in the Scriptures?
Why does seeing the bigger picture and plan matter so much for the smaller picture of our own lives?
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