Last night, I was stuck… as I was on the night before too.
I never used to be into doing Sudoku puzzles but Helen got me going with them a couple of years ago. Usually there are moments each time I do one that it is not clear what is next. It would be too easy and boring otherwise.
Yet on Sunday and Monday, I was truly having no idea how to move forward. Helen checked the solution at the back to see if I had gone wrong somewhere. I had not. I just could not figure out the next step.
Does life ever feel like that? It is just not clear what the next step is? Or perhaps you have been praying about something and the answer seems like it is not coming? You have been asking the Lord for some wisdom and insight but it seems like heaven is silent right now?
I’d been praying about various people’s situations before returning to the puzzle. Being stuck, I looked at the puzzle grid from all angles, literally. Upside down really doesn’t help much! Though it got me looking at things differently. It also triggered me thinking about faith and then I saw, what I had not been able to see before among the digits! Breakthrough came!
Not that I mean we need faith for doing number puzzles! Or that faith in our lives always means a sudden breakthrough. But in a very simple way it all spoke back into the prayer time I had beforehand. For me to be able to trust the Lord afresh and have some more insight how to pray.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is not something that we whip up in ourselves – it is a gift from the Lord into our lives (for example, see Ephesians 2:8-9)
The root word for faith is also the one from which we get the words ‘trust’ and ‘belief’ in the New Testament. It means ‘to be persuaded’.
In one sense everyone has faith since everyone is persuaded by something or someone. In whom or what is our faith? Where is it that we put our trust in ‘what we hope for’?
A bit later in Hebrews 11, we read these words,
“without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (11:6)
I know that in all our lives there can be circumstances where it seems that, even though we sensed faith in our lives, that the answer did not come. Or at least not in the way we hoped for. Some of those circumstances may in fact be very hard to walk with.
There could be all kinds of reasons for an answer not coming. Yet sometimes, the answer is that we just don’t know the why or why not!
A song that strikes me as relevant on this is Lauren Daigle’s “I will trust in you” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv-SXz_exKE)
Are we able to trust the Lord(with His help) even when life can seem stuck or too painful to move forward?
Let’s all be open to what God would stir in our hearts. Perhaps it is a fresh gift of faith to pray or take a step to give or do something, trusting the Lord as we do it. May be it is being able to trust the Lord again even though it seems like that mountain just isn’t moving! Perhaps it is having new faith to pray about something in the news but also how to act in response?
How is any of this possible? Well not by our own efforts alone. Rather, through Christ. I finish with these words from also from Hebrews,
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2)
PS Proof below, I did finish it: