Missing Pieces

  We enjoy doing picture puzzles during the winter when we don’t have as many outdoor projects that demand our attention. We are currently working on a 2,000-piece Super Big Ben of The Dolomites, Italy (a beautiful mountain scene).  The challenge—besides so many pieces—is that it is a used puzzle from a thrift store and apparently has several missing pieces. We have finally conquered the sky and mountains, but there ended up being three pieces missing in that section. We probably spent considerable time looking for them, not realizing that they were missing. There was no indication on the box that pieces were missing.

     How much like the life of so many in the world today. They are spending their time and energies looking for the “missing pieces” of their life, that which would complete them, satisfy them, give them purpose. The problem is they are looking for something they can never find in the places they are looking. The first problem is they haven’t even completed the framework of the puzzle. If you are a puzzle maker, you know that after getting the pieces all turned right-side up—no small task when you have a 2,000-piece puzzle—you locate the edge pieces and build the frame so that you have a foundation to build upon. Spiritually speaking, that framework or foundation to build upon, if our life is going to be fulfilling, and purposeful, must be Jesus Christ. To the believers at Corinth (in Greece), the missionary, Paul, wrote: “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (I Cor. 3:11-15).  To attempt to find meaning in life without a foundation of salvation in Jesus Christ is like building a house on  the sand, pure foolishness (Mt. 7:26).
     All efforts to find the “missing pieces” will be futile until a person first puts His trust in Christ for eternal life, for we were made to have a relationship with Him and nothing else we try will fill that need or void in our life. As we looked for some of the pieces to our puzzle (which ended up not existing), we jokingly said we should just take a knife and shape a piece so it would fit!  No matter what pieces we tried, they didn’t quite fit.  There is a longing in every heart which only Jesus Christ can satisfy.   We can never experience true satisfaction apart from the experience of God’s grace (Eph. 2:8,9).   The testimony of the late Chuck Colson is a good illustration of this truth. He writes:
     “While growing up, I had never really been a religious person and my life had been spent trying to find personal and material security, trying to be a success in all that I did. I was the grandson of immigrants, and came from a family that had never sent anyone to college. I remember thinking, ‘If I could only get a scholarship to college, that would be security. I’d find meaning and purpose in life. That’s all I’d need.’ So, I earned a scholarship to an Ivy League university and graduated with academic honors. But, I found that wasn’t enough.  I was then commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. I remember pinning those bars on as a marine lieutenant, hoping that would be my identity.
     “After the war, I earned my law degree and became the youngest administrative assistant in the U.S. Senate. I can remember working my way up the ladder, thinking: ‘I am going to find security; I am going to find significance; I am going to find purpose out of the things of this world.’ When I was just 39, the president of the United States (Richard Nixon) asked me to come and work with him. I was given an office right down the hall. The closer you are to the president, the more powerful your position, and soon I had an office immediately next to the president. One day I remember looking out over the south lawn of the White House, those beautifully manicured grounds, and thinking to myself, ‘My dad used to tell me in the Depression that if you work hard and strive to get ahead, you can do anything in America.’  I remember thinking, ‘That’s right, it’s true. All those years I wanted that security, I wanted success and power and achievement, and now I’ve got it all.’ But, the amazing paradox: when I left the Whitehouse, choosing to go back to private practice shortly after President Nixon’s second inauguration, I walked out with really everything a person could want in life, but I felt absolutely empty, dead and hollow inside.  All those things I thought would give me security, significance and meaning did not.”
     Chuck Colson returned to a very prestigious and lucrative law firm, with clients lined up at the doors. He thought this would give his life a new thrust, new zest and purpose—but still, there was that emptiness and lack of meaning. Then Watergate began leaking and Chuck’s already burdened heart became even heavier with much anxiety added to the load. Meanwhile, Tom Philips, a prior client of Chuck’s contacted him. Tom had become a Christian and he shared his testimony with Chuck. He, too, though president of a successful business with a good family and good health, had a hole in his life. He had begun reading the Bible looking for answers and realized what was missing was a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He attended a Billy Graham Crusade in Madison Square Garden, hoping to find some answers. “That night,” Tom said, “I invited Christ to come into my life and I could feel His presence and His peace.” Tom gave Chuck the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
      As Chuck read the book, God spoke to Chuck’s heart convicting Him that Jesus Christ was God and was what he was missing in his life.  He prayed: “Lord Jesus, I believe You. I accept You. Please come into my life. I commit my life to You.” Chuck felt old fears, tensions, longings, and animosities draining away and in their place came a new strength, serenity, a wonderful new assurance about life, a fresh perception about himself and the world around him. He said, “That barren void was filled to the brim and overflowing.”  He had been obsessed with significance but was looking for it in all the wrong places. He discovered it was not in academic achievement, nor in business success or making more money; it was not in having an office next to the President of the United States—it was in having a personal relationship with the only truly significant Person in the universe—the Lord Jesus Christ. 
     What about you? Are you looking for something to fill that void in your life, that “piece of the puzzle” to complete you and give you real purpose and meaning?  It’s available only in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why not admit your emptiness and need and receive Christ into your life as Savior and Lord. He will not disappoint you!
                            Forever His,
                                        Pastor Dave
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
                Blaise Pascal

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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