What have you learned during these weird weeks of the Coronapocalypse?
Here are a few things on my list: 1.) wearing uncomfortable clothing makes absolutely NO sense, so pajamas should henceforth be deemed acceptable attire for all occasions; 2.) ordering me to stay at home is like ordering a fish to stay in the water; 3.) I cannot think like an engineer.
Today, I wish to expound on that last point.
During this stay-at-home time, my husband and I have been working on jigsaw puzzles. We’ve finished three so far, and in the course of that I’ve come to wonder how our brains could possibly have been designed by the same Creator. I know “men are from Mars and women are from Venus,” but we seem to take that to a whole new level.
Joe was trained as an engineer and as I’ve learned over the years, engineers feel compelled to figure out the best way to do things and equally compelled to share that best way with others, especially their spouses. They are typically slow, thorough, thinkers. I, on the other hand, am a quick, but usually less-thorough thinker. I’m may not always be right, but I am fast, which, when it doesn’t lead to disaster, can be beneficial.
As I recently sat down to work on our fourth puzzle, Joe began explaining the intricate system he’d developed for sorting its 500 pieces. He launched into his engineering blah-blah-blah about how all the pieces are either “squatties” or “longies” and enthusiastically explained how he’d discovered that across each row, the “squatties” and “longies” alternate. He’d sorted all the pieces into “squatty” and “longy” piles and wanted me to adopt (not mess up) his system.
My brain rebelled as in days of yore when I was faced with hellish word problems in math class. I sensed a cerebral cramp coming on because that particular compartment of my noggin has remained blissfully dormant for so many years.
Joe thought he’d discovered the key to the jigsaw puzzle universe. I felt like he was sucking all the fun out of it.
“But I like to focus on the colors,” I protested. “For me, it’s all about the picture we’re forming, not just fitting ‘longies’ and ‘squatties’ together.”
My approach is obviously more holy and righteous because it is, after all, how God works in the lives of His children. As He sorts, directs, fits, and moves the pieces of our lives, He’s always working to form a picture in us—the picture of His Son, Jesus, the perfect bodily representation of God’s nature (Hebrews 1:3).
From our perspective, becoming conformed to the image of Christ isn’t an easy or comfortable process, but it is what God is constantly up to throughout the duration of our earthly lives (Phil 1:6) and it’s what we sign up for as Christ-followers (Romans 8:29).
In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we’re given a clue about how the process works: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another … .”
It’s not just acting like Jesus out the outside, but rather an internal transformation that occurs as we “behold God” in the Bible, interact with Him in prayer and worship, and interpret life through the grid of His truth.
Is God more like an artist or an engineer as He works in us and transforms us from “one degree of glory to another”? He’s surely the best of both, which is why I can trust that as He fits together all the “squatties,” “longies,” and colors in my life, He’s working “all things together for good” (Romans 8:28).
We humans are surely the ultimate puzzle, and no one can really put us together but God.