In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
Do you like puzzles? I do. I like all sorts of puzzles. We always had puzzles to put together when it was raining at the beach. But there are lots of different kinds of puzzles. There are many three-dimension puzzles like Rubik’s Cube. Jenga is a puzzle that you can play with in a group.
And then there are the “searching” puzzles. Word search, Where’s Waldo, and searching for objects inside a drawling are fun too. And if your get really desperate, there are computer software tools that you can use to instantly find shapes inside a picture. And in case you think I’m making this up, watch this video of an Artificial Intelligence robot as it solves Where’s Waldo.
It's one thing when we’re looking to solve a puzzle. But it’s another thing altogether when God gives you the solution to a puzzle that’s been there for thousands of years. And that’s exactly what Paul says happened to him.
The puzzle, the problem, the mystery was about Christ. There were many pieces scattered throughout history and the Old Testament. There were thousands of clues here and there, mixed in throughout the lives, history, and writings of the Jews.
Many people had tried to solve the mystery. Some spent their entire adult lives looking for clues, trying to put the pieces together. Some got further than others. But in the end, they all failed. It was a mystery beyond human understanding.
That’s why God had to step in and reveal the solution in Jesus. Son of God, God the Son, and Son of Man. And then God had to explain himself to the Apostle Paul, giving him understanding.
This understanding, this insight from God, allowed Paul to connect the dots. He combined all the pieces, all the knowledge, all the wisdom, from throughout the history of the Jews and came up with the right solution.
He put it all together so that all the pieces fit perfectly. He didn’t have to jam together some pieces, trying to make them fit when they really didn’t. He didn’t have to saw off a corner to jam it together. He didn’t have to try and pull the stickers off the Rubik’s Cube of Scripture to reassemble them like he wanted.
He was able, through God’s empowerment and wisdom, to find the right pieces and put them together, in the right order, in the right way. The result was a complete picture of who Christ was, what he did, and what he means for us.
I really don’t know if Paul was the most intelligent person of all time. But one thing I do know, God used him in a special way to both reveal himself and change the face of our world. God took Paul, warts and all, cracks and all, and used him in a miraculous way. And Paul was the biggest sinner of all time.
But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT
The really good news is that if God could love Paul. Die for Paul. Change Paul. Then God can do exactly the same thing for you and me. Our past, our failures, our fears, our weaknesses. None of them disqualify us from God’s loving embrace. His intimate relationship with us is available to us each and every day.
It also doesn’t eliminate us from being used by God. For his glory. For his good. For the blessing and good of others. God can take the broken pieces of our lives and put them together. But not in the same way, showing the same picture. No. When God puts a life back together, it does it with an entirely different picture in mind. With an entirely different outcome in mind.
That’s where God is with you and me. Isn’t it time that we let him connect the dots like he wants? To make the image he sees from above.
His vision is not limited like ours is. He sees us in the light of his power. His glory. His grace. And all of eternity.
Will you let God connect your dots today?
How has God been “connecting the dots” in your life?
Why is it easy and/or hard it to cooperate with God as “connects the dots?”
What picture do you see as God “connects the dots” in your life?