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February 2, 2023

Scattered Schedule, Faithful God.

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As I emerge from careful goal setting and planning in January and head into February, sometimes the minutes of my days can feel more like the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle than orderly procession of events.  Each morning, it’s as if each of my kids holds a box of puzzle pieces they dump on the kitchen table.  My job for the rest of the day is to fit together all of the pieces: who goes where when?  Who needs tutoring and extra help for what?  Who has outgrown their clothes and has resorted to wearing shorts in thirty-degree weather because – and I quote – “Mom won’t take me shopping”?  Whose allergies are flaring or toe is hurting or cavity needs filling, and where in the world am I supposed to insert those necessary but frustrating appointments into an already full, overflowing schedule?  And I can’t forget about my own box of puzzle pieces – writing, editing, teaching, exercising, showering (that’s harder to fit in than you might think), and connecting with family and friends.

Sometimes in the quiet moments, I just sit at my desk with my head in my hands staring at all the puzzle pieces, not even knowing where to begin or what to fit together first.

One morning last week in the quiet hours before anyone else was awake or anyone’s puzzle pieces had been dumped on the kitchen table, I read these words from John Calvin: “For it is not without significance that he [God] divided the making of the universe into six days [Gen. 1:31], even though it would have been no more difficult for him to have completed in one moment the whole work together in all its details than to arrive at its completion gradually by a progression of this sort. But he willed to commend his providence and fatherly solicitude toward us in that, before he fashioned man, he prepared everything he foresaw would be useful and salutary for him.”

Those words rested quietly and comfortingly on me – God could have created the universe and everything in it to support human life in one big giant poof or bang!  But He didn’t.  He took six careful, intentional days.  And within those days, He set boundaries for our waking and sleeping with the rising and setting of the sun.  He plotted out seasons for change, variety, delight, joy, planting, harvesting, reaping, and resting in spring, summer, fall, and winter.  He provided nourishment, food, the exact amount of sunlight and water, and then, and only then, did He create men and women.  

In other words, He carefully and thoughtfully laid out everything we would need for life before setting us down in it. 

What my brother Taylor taught me is to pay careful attention to however God does something for the first time – often seen in Genesis – since it sets the pattern and lays the foundation for every other occurrence we see throughout Scripture.  

So if God took great care and thought to set up the first day of life for the people He created, has the unchanging God changed?  Has a God steadfast in love decided to become fickle?  Has a faithful God decided to withhold what each day needs?  By no means!

In Calvin’s continued words, “How great ingratitude would it be now to doubt whether this most gracious Father has us in his care, who we see was concerned for us even before we were born!  How impious would it be to tremble for fear that his kindness might at any time fail us in our need, when we see that it was shown, with the greatest abundance of every good thing, when we were yet unborn!  Therefore nothing that is needful for our welfare will ever be lacking to us.”

Let the truth and comfort of those words settle on your soul as they did mine.  What God as a good Father has done since the beginning of time, He will do again, and again, and again.  If God can handle the jigsaw puzzle pieces of the universe – the tilt of the earth, the heat of the sun, the spinning of the cosmos, the singing of the stars, the quietness of seeds in winter, the waking of the ground in spring, then why do I struggle to trust He can handle the jigsaw puzzle pieces of my day?”

We can confidently join our voices together with the saints who have gone before us and say, “All I have need of Thy hand has provided; great is Thy faithfulness!”

The same morning I read those words from Calvin, my husband Jason sent me an article from The Wall Street Journal displaying a picture of the star-studded Milky Way with the caption “Astronomers have identified 3.32 billion celestial objects in the Milky Way in unprecedented detail.”  It was as though God was not so subtly saying (or shouting), “Do you hear Me?  I hold 3.32 billion objects in the Milky Way Galaxy alone.  I can handle your schedule.”

So seriously.  Most days, what brings you the most stress?  What puzzle pieces are regularly dumped on the table of your days you struggle to put together?  For me, it’s not the thought that an atomic bomb might go off – it’s the very real possibility that I am going to forget to pick someone up at carpool.  Or forget to take someone to basketball.  Or that my child is going to be a senior in high school still struggling to read Amelia Bedlia.  

So like me, step back for a moment, and breathe.  Remember His words in Psalm 8:3-9:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,

 all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

All you and I have need of for today, His hand carefully laid out and provided the night before while we were sleeping.  His mercy made a way for the pieces to snugly fit together.  His faithfulness carved out a path for you to walk before your feet ever hit the ground.  His kindness created provision you don’t even know yet you need.  

The same day I read the quote from Calvin and Jason sent me the article on the stars, I was talking with my mom.  Out of the blue, she said, “Hey – don’t forget – if God can order the stars, He can order your schedule.”  

I think my jaw dropped open.  

It was a small comment but a big reminder from a faithful God.  

It was my earthly parent and my Heavenly Parent working together to remind me – “All you have need of, God’s Hand has provided.  Great is His faithfulness.”  

When you need tangible ways to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness, or in other words, to stop sweating the small stuff and trust God to order the puzzle pieces of your day, here are some puzzle solving strategies that have helped me:

  • Just as God has set boundaries and limits around our days, set boundaries and limits around yours.
  • Bookend the start and finish of your workday with ten minutes of worship: read God’s Word and pray, entrusting your time to His care.  Your workday can include sitting down at your desk to pay bills, make a grocery list, schedule your week, contact clients, write a deposition, landscape a yard, or record a podcast.
    • For five minutes, READ a Psalm, a Proverb, or a portion of the Gospels, paying careful attention to how Jesus walked through His days and interacted with His Heavenly Father and people around Him.
      • This year I purchased a copy of the Psalms and Proverbs in the ESV Illuminated Scripture Journals and keep them both on my desk.  I use the Psalms to start my workday and the Proverbs to end my workday.  Both represent sacred bookends around my time.  Whatever I do, or don’t get done, has been entrusted to God’s care and He faithfully holds in His hands.
    • For five minutes, PRAY.  
      • List out all the puzzle pieces floating around in your head that you aren’t sure how to get done or fit together.
      • Thank Him for specifics about His Name – who He is and what He promises to do.
      • Ask Him to lead you in paths of right relationship with Him and others for His Name’s sake.  
      • Ask Him for provision of “daily bread” and thank Him in advance for all you don’t get done, He will do in the right way, at the right time.  
      • Ask that all that you do would flow out of union and relationship with Him.  Ask for the comfort of His presence as you go throughout your day, no matter what it holds.

Then say “Amen,” and go do good work.  Trust God with the puzzle pieces of your day, even with the pieces that fall on the floor and the dog chews up.  He’s got those too.  Our job is simply to trust Him and leave the pieces (even the chewed up ones) in His hand.  

Just remember: He’s got the stars.  He’s got your schedule.  He’s got you.  All you have need of, His Hand has provided.  Great is His faithfulness.

For more information on restoring your attachment through your senses or earned secure attachment, check out Susannah’s book, Restore and download the first chapter for free!