This past week I took a trip with my grandparents to a Christian conference. To pass the time, my grandpa, more affectionately known as Paw-Paw, pulled out the newspaper to do the crossword puzzle and handed me the Sudoku puzzle. Despite the recent fad, I had never done Sudoku previously. While I understood the basic concept -- use numbers 1 through 9 without any repetition to fill in rows, columns and cubes; I had no clue where to start nor had any strategy! Up for the challenge, I decided to give it a go.
As I started getting into it, I began seeing similarities between how I was solving the puzzle and how we, through God’s help, solve the problems in our daily lives. I noticed that if I focused on the problem, which was a mysterious blank square surrounded by other blank squares, it would be impossible for me to have any idea which number to use. It was as I began to look at the squares that I had filled in, as well as using the few numbers that were already filled in at the start, that I was able to solve the problem with confidence.
I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life when I’m faced with an issue or problem and have had no idea where to begin. In fact, at times the very notion of initiating the problem solving process seems overwhelming. I felt as if God was giving me His strategy for problem solving, which is to not focus on the problem but to begin to see all the squares that have been filled in – to focus on the truth that I do have and to use all the other problems that I have overcome to help give me the perspective I need to overcome the one I’m faced with!
The other strategy I saw was even more important – I needed to use the numbers that were filled in by the creator of the puzzle as a guide. God, the creator and author of our life stories, has given us His Word as a guide to aid us in conquering life’s challenges.
There were many times while working on the puzzle when I didn’t know the right number to use to fill in the square, but I did know which numbers did not go in the square. Sometimes knowing what not to do can prove very beneficial in helping you figure out what you should do!