My wife loves the challenge of doing jigsaw puzzles. She handpicks each piece and ponderingly places it somewhere on the board. The individual piece may fit, or she may set it nearby for an eventual link to some other piece of the puzzle.
With incredible patience and tenacity, day after day, she studies the picture on the box and piece after piece. Placed just so, one by one, they take on the picture on the box. You can imagine the feeling of satisfaction when the puzzle pieces surrender their location and the almost-completed puzzle reveals the reward of her daily efforts. The resplendent, completed picture is matched by her glowing eyes of satisfaction! You can imagine the joyous heartbeat pounding out the message, "A job well done!" Life is good!
In writing to encourage one of his young, struggling disciples, the apostle Paul patiently mentored Timothy about life's challenges. With the words in a letter from the "apostle of a heart set free," Timothy is reminded by Paul of the past adventures in his life that have led him to his incarceration. But Paul also shares his certain hope of the reward that awaits him (following his Roman execution) when he expects "to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8b NKJV). Knowing of his soon-to-be-carried-out sentence of death for preaching the gospel, Paul states:
2 Timothy 4:8 – Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (NKJV)
Some things that happen to us in life are like puzzles in the early stages, things that do not make sense at the time, things that just don't fit in the picture that we have in mind. Often we ask, "What value is this circumstance to me?"
But then, after a time of struggle or stalled hopes, one thing connects with another and the picture of what God has been doing comes into perfect view! Aren't you glad that Paul helped Timothy to see the value of extolling, declaring, and living out in daily life the gospel message? Like Paul, Timothy, and countless others, we can hang in there, and as we do, we, too, will see the "big picture" and the awaiting crown of righteousness.
Prayer: Dear Lord, there are puzzling things going on in our lives from time to time. Like the apostle Paul, help us to remember Your faithfulness to Your promises. Thank You for the crown that awaits us. It is Your way of saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Accept our humble thanks for enabling us to see the fruits of our labours, some here and now, and some in the sweet by-and-by. Amen.
Listen to this devotional
Listen while you read: "Standing On The Promises" (Lyrics)