Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting Stumped

Posted by Michael

I am constantly amazed by the creative ways that God uses to remind me of His love. Not long ago, I was flipping through magazines awaiting my annual eye exam.   I noticed with me in the waiting area what appeared to be a teenager with special needs and his grandfather. Many special needs kids develop a task or skill that they are really good at. It’s a safe place for them that offers both comfort and confidence. The young man across from me had a passion for solving Sudoku puzzles. He had a thick well-worn book of puzzles that occupied him that day. He would work on a puzzle, solve it, turn the page and begin again. He was well into the book and moving quickly through the puzzles, when it happened. A clear sense of discomfort registered in his eyes and his body tensed. He rubbed his forehead and focused again on the page in front of him. The next puzzle in line didn’t operate by the same rules that the others had. What had just moments ago brought him comfort was now a source of stress. The confidence he enjoyed had disappeared into self-doubt. I wasn’t the only one to notice this change, his grandfather recognized that that something was amiss and leaned over to glance at the puzzle his grandson was working on. When he realized that this young man that he loved was stumped, he began to slowly and patiently explain the new puzzle. The boy didn’t understand at first, the panic in his eyes didn’t allow him to think clearly. But then as the grandfather continued to calmly talk through the problem, his body relaxed. The numbers began to connect and a comprehending smile stretched across his face.

As I sat there that day, I realized that I too have ways of handling life that make me comfortable. As long as things are going according to plan, I can be confident and relaxed. But sometimes life produces a new challenge that doesn't look like the ones I am used to, and the predictable patterns disappear. The way that I understand things breaks down, and doubt begins to creep in. The answers that used to bring me comfort now seem empty and weak. That’s when God slowly and patiently speaks to my heart, walking me through the new problems. His patience overcomes my panic and I’m able to face the new challenge. I am grateful that I am loved by a God that is bigger my understanding, who patiently expands my horizon, even when it's uncomfortable.

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