When my son was growing up, he loved jigsaw puzzles.
Mind you, I’m not a jigsaw puzzle fan. It’s not just my personality. I wish jigsaw puzzles came with a push button. Press it and viola—it’s done.
I remember this story about men and a jigsaw puzzle.
There were these three guys in a bar.
The bar tender asked, “What brings you here gentlemen?”
“We’re celebrating!” the three men said.
“What happened?” he asked.
One of them said, “We worked on a jigsaw puzzle together and we’re able to finish it in one month. Way ahead of schedule.”
“Way ahead of schedule?” the bartender asked.
“Yes. Because the box says 3 to 6 years!”
The Odd Piece In The Puzzle
One day, while working on a jigsaw puzzle, I remember getting frustrated. Because one piece didn’t fit. This one piece didn’t make sense. This one piece had a different color. This one piece was even ugly.
“Perhaps the manufacturer made a mistake,” I told myself. “Perhaps it doesn’t belong to this box…”
But sure enough, later on, I found its place in the jigsaw puzzle. It belonged to the box, after all. Without that piece, the big picture wouldn’t be complete.
Friend, there are events in your life that are so painful, they don’t make sense. These are like odd pieces in the jigsaw puzzle of your life that don’t seem to fit.
Your miscarriage, by itself, makes no sense.
Having cancer, by itself, makes no sense.
Being retrenched from your job, by itself, makes no sense.
Your daughter getting pregnant out of wedlock, by itself, makes no sense.
Your son getting into drugs, by itself, makes no sense.
Your child dying of dengue, by itself, makes no sense.
In your tears, you asked, “Where is God in my trial?”
Where Is God?
Let me tell you where: He’s holding the other pieces of the puzzle. Taken in isolation, your trial makes no sense. But Romans 8:28 says that God will work all things together for your good.
Where is God? God is working.
He’s on His knees, connecting the pieces of your life together, and making the jigsaw puzzle.
The cross, by itself, makes no sense.
Good Friday, by itself, makes no sense.
The death of Jesus, by itself, makes no sense.
But if you put together the cross and the empty tomb, it makes total, complete, glorious sense.
Friend, you may be experiencing Good Friday today.
And deep in your heart, you’re crying out to God for an explanation. Why is this happening to you?
I want you to believe that your Easter Sunday is coming.
Don’t Be Anxious
Let me tell you why you become anxious.
Because you isolate your problem.
The reason why you don’t understand is because you’re not holding the big picture. Who is holding it?
God is holding the top of the jigsaw box.
God is holding the big picture. It’s a beautiful picture. He’s busy making the jigsaw puzzle of your life look glorious. He’s busy making all the separate, seemingly disjointed, seemingly senseless pieces work together for your good.
When We Lost Our Baby
After a year and half of being married, my wife got pregnant.
We went nuts. We cried. We laughed. We danced. We sang.
And every morning, I talked to my baby. I sang to my baby.
But a few months later, one early morning, I woke up to the shrill cry of my wife. I ran to the bathroom and there she was, her body shaking, pointing to the toilet bowl. It was filled with fresh, red blood. Our baby was gone.
I got water, sprinkled it on our baby, and said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. You shall be called Angel.”
I then cradled my weeping wife in my arms. It was a difficult to pray. But I still did. I said, “Lord, we thank you for our child. We thank you that you gave her to us even just for a short time. We believe that she’s now in Heaven. We believe she’ll be praying for us, sending her love, from Heaven. We believe we’ll see her one day when we ourselves will walk through the gates of Heaven.”
For six months, my wife was depressed. For six months, she couldn’t eat well. The most delicious food was tasteless in her mouth. After six months, she recovered.
But after a couple of years, my wife lost our second baby.
And then my wife lost our third baby.
We’ve lost three children.
I asked her, “Is it easier the second time? Or the third time?” And she almost screamed, “No!”
When you lose a child, it makes no sense.
Why? Where was God in our pain?
He was there. He was there putting the missing pieces together. He was making all things beautiful. He was making all things work for good.
Today, I believe that our three children in heaven are part of my ministry. I believe that they send their love from heaven to me and the people I serve. I believe they pray for you and for me everyday.
And today, my wife has an incredible compassion for those who lose their child. She knows what to say, what not to say. She is able to hug a grieving mother and bless that person.
Suffering’s greatest gift is compassion. You realize that everyone is suffering, just like you. And every person needs love, just like you. And so you’re moved to give love.
When I Was Abused
Most of you know I was molested as a child.
By whom? By my religious leader.
A religious leader who always carried a Bible, had a huge cross hanging from his neck, and wore a white barong tagalog.
Everyone said he was holy.
But this man raped me.
It destroyed my life. The way I looked at myself. The way I looked at God. I hated myself.
I developed a pornography addiction. I couldn’t stop myself. I’d wake up at 3am just to get my fix.
I also developed a shame-based personality. I was ashamed that I was alive. I was ashamed that I existed in the world.
Isolate that horrible event, and it makes no sense.
It was ugly. Terrible beyond words can describe.
Yet today, God has connected that one horrific piece with another piece of the puzzle: His healing love.
Friend, I’m now healed. God accepted me as I was, all my sins and failures included. And that powerful acceptance broke the bondages from my hands. It set me free.
I’m no longer ashamed of myself.
I now love myself!
Yes, God has worked all things together for my good.
The Secret Of The Feast
People ask me, “Bo, what’s the secret of the Feast? All the Feasts are growing!”
Let me tell you the big secret of the Feast.
The Feast is drawing thousands of people because the Feast is not a prayer meeting for religious people. The Feast is a party of God’s Love for those who aren’t religious.
The Feast is based on Mark 2:15-17, where Jesus had party at Levi’s house, eating with tax collectors, drunkards, and prostitutes. That was when religious leaders criticized Jesus, asking how he could eat with sinners. (In that culture, eating with someone around a table meant friendship.) Instead of offering his friendship, these religious leaders wanted Jesus to condemn these sinners.
But Jesus didn’t do that. He simply loved them.
If you notice, in the Bible, the only people Jesus condemned were the self-righteous religious leaders!
The Feast is drawing thousands of people because we’re doing what Jesus did in Levi’s house. We’re throwing a party for sinners.
My Healing Has Become
Healing For Others
In fact, I don’t think there’ll be a “Feast” if I didn’t experience my addictions—and the healing of my addictions.
That’s the purpose of the Feast: To welcome the sinner. The lost. The searching. The doubting. Those who are far from God.
The Feast is also based on my personal experience.
I’m befriending the sinner because I experienced God’s radical love.
I’m loving them with no strings attached.
I’m not saying, “I’ll love you if you repent of your sins, join the community, and become a card-carrying Light of Jesus member.”
No. I’m saying to them, “I love you.” Period.
Today, I have a great love for sinners.
I repeat: One of the greatest gifts of suffering is compassion. I have a great compassion for sinners because I’m one of them.
Today, I don’t ask for people’s “background” before they become my friends. I don’t ask what sin they committed in the past. I don’t ask what mess they were in. I simply accept people and love them. Because I know that a day will come when God’s love will heal them too, just as it healed me.
For everyone has a dark past. Everyone!
Those who feel far from God, please come. I love you.
Adulterers, please come. I love you.
Prostitutes, please come. I love you.
Drug addicts. Alcoholics. Please come. I love you.
Atheists and agnostics, please come. I love you.
Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, please come. I love you.
Practicing homosexuals, please come. I love you.
Divorced. Separated. Please come. I love you.
Single parents. Please come. I love you.
From one fellow sinner to another, I speak to you.
I love you.
I want to be God’s arms for you.
I want to embrace you.
God Will Use Your Suffering
To Heal The World
In the Bible, you find that God’s great men had great problems. None of them were exempted.
o Noah had to build an ark on dry land.
o Abraham had no kids till he was an old man.
o Moses killed an Egyptian and went into exile.
o Joseph was sold as a slave and thrown into prison.
o Samuel had rebellious sons.
o David ran away because King Saul wanted to kill him.
o Jeremiah was too young.
o Peter was a coward.
o James and John had a temper problem.
If you look at the Catholic Saints, you find the same thing. St. Francis, St. Ignatius, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Bosco… All of them went through enormous suffering.
But through their suffering, they won the victory.
God worked all things for their good—and for the good of everyone. They became a blessing to others precisely because of their suffering.
Behind The Scenes, God Is At Work
Friend, are you suffering right now?
Are you sick?
Do you have emotional pain?
Do you have financial difficulties?
Relationship problems with family?
Believe that God is at work, behind the scenes. He is connecting the “odd” pieces of the jigsaw of your life into a glorious bigger picture. Believe me. He’ll make all things work for your good. Your deepest pain will be your most glorious blessing.
Do not be anxious.
Pray with thanksgiving instead.
For your trial is temporary. It will come to an end.
But his love is permanent. It will last forever.
May your dreams come true,
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