Suffering That Baffles Us

”Sometimes it takes a long, long time before we can glean enrichment from the deprivation and suffering which has baffled and overwhelmed us.”

Mildred Tengbaum

Seldom do puzzles solve themselves. Jigsaw puzzles especially. We sit at the table turning the pieces over, separating the “edges” to start. It’s slow going; we look at the picture on the box, looking at what we’re trying to put together. Nothing really helps, and it is slow going, even for someone who is experienced in puzzle solving.

It can take a long time to put it together. You’ll probably require the “patience of Job” in order to manage it. The puzzle makers design them to challenge, not to solve. There is kind of a “grinding out” involved. Pieces that look like they may fit, but don’t.

In life we go through trials. We’re challenged– sometimes beyond our limits. Testing can be extreme sometimes and we don’t know how we’re going to survive. It seems “the odds are against us.” In the book of Psalms there are many encouraging promises, here are just a few:

“I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
    who surround me on every side.”
Psalm 3:6, NLT
“Though a mighty army surrounds me,
    my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
    I will remain confident.”
Psalm 27:3
“The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?”
Psalm 118:6

The Psalms aren’t for those who have it all together. (They don’t need them). Rather, these psalms are for the burned-out, the afflicted, the scared and desperate. We “own” these.

Life in general, is impossible without God. Our issues are leading us back to Him, and so they serve His purpose. I thank God for my mental illness. Depression leads me to seek Him with a whole heart. What was meant to destroy me, works out to my good.

Oh, I slapped the following together:

Tips for the puzzles of life.

  1. Separate the pieces into groups.
  2. “Edge” pieces go first.
  3. Consult the picture on the box repeatedly.
  4. Take a break when the pieces all look a like.
  5. Get help. A fresh set of eyes can be a blessing.

I hope is a blessing to you. “We aim to please.”


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Author: Pastor Bryan Lowe

A repentant rascal with definite issues, but who is seeking to be authentic in his faith to Jesus Christ. An avid reader and a hopeful writer. Husband and father. A pastor and Bible teacher. A brain tumor survivor. Diagnosed with clinical depression, and now disabled. Enjoys life, such as it is, in Alask.a (Actually I have it pretty good.)

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