My family loves to do puzzles. What is the most important piece? You might say the corners or the edges, but we’ve found the most important piece is the picture on the cover of the box. Without the picture, you can’t make the pieces fit together in a way that makes sense.
Lies are like pieces in the puzzle of our pain. We try to put the pieces together and we get the wrong picture of who God is and who He created us to be. Without the true picture from God’s word about who He is and who we are in Christ, we can’t fit the pieces together in a way that makes sense.
We need the picture on the cover of the box.
This picture includes two words:
Because at the end of the day, after all is said and done, the only way anything makes sense is through the lens of God’s love for us.
As we begin to see the big picture and fathom the depths of His love, the pieces of the puzzle start to change. Pieces of lies of being unloved, abandoned, and rejected are replaced with pieces of truth, that we are deeply loved, accepted, chosen, and forgiven.
How can we begin to grasp the depth of God’s love for us? It is infinite, indescribable. In 1917, Frederick M. Lehman penned these words for his hymn, “The Love of God”:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
It is impossible to fully grasp. But God has given us the cover picture to help us understand. It is the picture of the cross.
This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.
(1 John 3:16, NIV)
God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5:8, NIV)
The cross is the most beautiful expression of God’s love for us. It is the place where we can hang our hat and rest at the end of a long day of disappointment. It is the place where we can hang our hope even in the midst of brokenness and despair.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33, NIV)
How has Jesus overcome the world? By dying for us and rising to live in us so we don’t have to live in despair. By breaking the power of sin in our lives and breaking the hold of bitterness and unforgiveness that threatens to consume us. By pouring out his love and grace upon us in the midst of our trouble, so that we in turn can extend that love and grace to others.
God’s love won’t ever change. The stake of the cross was driven deep into eternity past, present, and future. We never move beyond our need for it – it will always be the center of our faith because it is the center of the gospel and our desperate need for a Savior every moment of every day. Hang your hat on the love and grace it represents and rest in it.
“Hang your hat on God’s love/the cross” inspired by my good friend Kara S.
Scriptures quoted using the following translation: Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. ®