Pudgy little hands slowly chose a colorful piece of cardboard.
“No, not that one. Not yet. We are looking for all the pieces that are straight on one side.”
Teaching my grandchildren the art of putting together a jigsaw puzzle (even a fifteen piece one) was fun! They couldn’t wait to see the finished picture. It was hard for them to imagine the end product would look just like the picture on the puzzle box.
Only, it didn’t. In the middle of the puzzle, there was a gaping hole. We were missing one piece. One last piece that would complete the whole.
There was a hole in our whole.
Funny, that’s how my heart has been feeling these past several months. My sister passed away. My husband’s brother passed away. And scripture tells me that I won’t grieve as those with no hope. Only, it seems like that’s exactly how I have been grieving.
Oh, I have hope. But my grief did not end just because of the hope I have:
-Hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8)
-Hope of righteousness (Romans 5:1)
-Hope of eternal life (John 3:16)
-Hope of my eternal home that Jesus prepares for me (John 14:3)
-Hope of glory (Colossians 1:27)
Wait a minute. Glory? Me? I thought glory was reserved for the triune God. But…why not me?
If Jesus has declared me righteous, why can’t I have glory?
Oh, it won’t be a glory like God has, that’s for sure!
“The glory of God is what He is essentially; the glory of created things including man is what they are meant by God to be, though not yet perfectly attained.”1
Now that’s something I can hold on to: hope of glory. What I am meant by God to be. The blissful perfection which is the inheritance of those who dwell with God in heaven.
This is the missing piece of the puzzle. That one piece, when snapped into place, completes the whole, wiping away any empty spaces, longings, and the angst of not being complete. Jesus holds this piece of the puzzle. He will finish me, in due time. He will complete what He started (Philippians 1:6).
There is hope that one day the messiness of this earthly life – the sorrow, the tears and pain – will be completely and perfectly redeemed. That not only will there be no more tears and crying but the constant longing in my soul will be filled. I will know with complete clarity His purposes for me.
“God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 CSB
Christ in us IS our hope of glory. There is no hope but in Jesus2. He fills all the empty places. What does this mean for our grief in the here and now?
It’s kind of like waiting for retirement. On my worst days, can I hang on? Can I endure? Yes, because I know retirement will be here soon.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” 2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT
This is the hope I can cling to now: that one day I will be complete and mature, lacking nothing, all my longings filled…with Jesus!
On earth, I am like a puzzle with one piece missing.
The hole in my heart is not for those who are no longer with us. It’s for my completeness in Christ. I long for that day. Until then, I have Christ in me, hope of glory. Some of that glory, that completeness, will be filled here on earth, and will spill out in my life. But I won’t see the fullness of His filling this side of heaven.
That’s okay. There is hope. One day…
Grace be with you,
1 Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.
2 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope