Like jigsaw pieces, we are all part of God's plan
Today as I was leaving work, the temperature was in the low 40's. As I scurried down the sidewalk to the relative warmth of my car, I saw a beautiful bright red cardinal sitting on the fence of our playground. "How ironic!" I thought to myself, "Spring is here, but it still feels like winter." And then, once I was safely in the car with the seat warmer on high, I stopped and thought about it.
We people like to pigeon-hole things (pun intended) into our categories and impose our stereotypes on the rest of God's creation. We see things in black and white. We live in a culture of dualism: rich/poor, fat/thin, good/bad, liberal/conservative. We want to fit everything neatly into our concept of how the world ought to be. But God created the earth and everything in it. (See Psalm 24:1.) God created us in His image, but it takes all of us to reflect His glory. Otherwise, part of the picture is missing, like that one piece of the jigsaw puzzle you just can't seem to find. We are all a part of God's creation. So no one is all bad or all good. We are all a blend of both. That's why we read the Bible and go to church and study up on how to be a better person, because it keeps our focus on the good in us, not the bad. In Romans, Paul says, "I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate." (Romans 7:15) We all struggle with the various personality defects we have. No one is perfect. It takes a blend within each of us, and our world to make up who and what we are.
It's kind of like making chocolate chip cookies. The ingredients, all by themselves, aren't all that good. Try eating plain flour! It's gross! But, add eggs, brown sugar, baking powder, a little vanilla, and those wonderful chocolate chips, and put them in the oven, and you get yummy cookies! (There's a little more to it, so don't try to make this a recipe - it's an analogy.) It takes all the ingredients to make the cookies come out right. It takes the right cooking temperature, the right amount of baking time, and other conditions for the cookies to be good.
Likewise, seeing a cardinal when it's 42 degrees out, can make one see just how many elements go into making this world work right. I sure am glad I don't have to keep up with all of it! It's in God's control - yesterday, today and tomorrow.
• Rev. Caren Bigelow Morgan is pastor of Waxhaw United Methodist Church and can be reached at 704-843-3931.