There was a man on my 2-hour plane ride that spent the duration of the flight solving crossword puzzles. He displayed such diligence and focus, and it was obvious by the speediness in which he filled in the blanks that these were not his first puzzles to complete. I observed as he read the DOWN and ACROSS clues, counted the empty squares, and in all caps, wrote the letters of his answers, one by one. He was experienced and equipped to respond to each clue, even as the level of difficulty progressively increased.
It was evident he had the knowledge and practice that I, myself, did not possess. Every so often, I have attempted Will Shortz’s crossword puzzles in the New York Times. He is an enigmatologist (and a graduate of my alma mater, Indiana University ;-), and he designs intricate puzzles for his brainiac followers to solve. He is also responsible for sharing the answers to the previous crossword puzzle in each new edition. And those of us that have not mastered the skill of the man on the plane are very grateful to Mr. Shortz for this. He helps us complete what we cannot in our own strength. Bless him!
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Isn’t this like our relationship with God? He is our maker, and He has created each season of our lives for a specific purpose, designed to teach us something new about who we are and who He has created us to be. Daily, we have puzzles to solve or obstacles to overcome, and it takes great knowledge and understanding of God’s Word to navigate successfully.
I’m convinced that the coined term “crossword” serves another purpose – one that is more relevant to our daily lives. This begins and ends with Jesus Christ. Only He can help us solve the day-to-day puzzles. We must confess that “Jesus is Lord” and believe in our heart that He was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9), and have faith that we, though sinners, are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) as a result of what took place on the CROSS. This truth and the knowledge of the holy WORDS written in Scripture are all we need to fill in the blanks. We can use the “CROSS” . . . “WORDS” themselves to solve the puzzles of life and navigate the unknown.
Once a puzzle is complete, there will always be another to solve for “each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34). But practicing our faith allows us to steer through life’s obstacles with a speedy demeanor like that of the man on the plane. Just as he, may we be experienced and equipped to respond to each of God’s clues, even as the level of difficulty progressively increases.