The Puzzle of Faith
 — Pham Nguyen

March 25, 2012
Youth Sunday


Grace and Peace to you this morning. Grace and Peace. How many of you like puzzles? Today I have brought in one my favorite (and least favorite) puzzle: A Rubik’s cube. *shows Rubik’s cube* Here is a fun fact about the Rubik’s cube: it has over 43 quintillion arrangements. I won’t bother trying to explain or convey such a large number. But, we might wonder, what does this cube have to do with church? What does it have to do with faith?

Like the number of combinations of a Rubik’s cube, faith can be difficult to solve. If only things were straight forward in life. The journey of faith is long and winding; it is also rewarding and comforting. We wonder why is it long and winding. Why does faith have to be such a…  puzzle? What if it was not a puzzle? Would we be better off?

Admittedly, I sometimes find things too hard. I find that faith is hard.  I just want the answer in the back of the book. Sometimes, we do this to God. Something seems too hard and we ask, “What’s the answers? Can I see your cheat sheet real quick? Is it ‘A’ or is it ‘B’?” We more often opt for what is easy instead of what is right. We want God to be a vending machine, so we can insert our problems and allow God to take care of it. We hope for the answer to be dispensed below.

Imagine if that was our relationship with God and faith. Our problems would be taken care of without any thought. Everything would be clear and simple. But I wonder if this is faith at all. Faith cannot be spoon fed to us. Although we are created in the image of God, we are not as enlightened as is God. Faith takes practice, patience, and plenty of problem solving. If faith were easy there would be no reason to grow. The destination is only part of faith, the rest is the journey. It’s when we invest our time, when we think outside of our comfort zones, that we learn to love each other more.

Of course we are not alone in our path towards God because he is our guide. Sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction, I know I do frequently. When the challenges of life arise we might have the right piece of the puzzle, but we are trying to stick it in to the wrong one.  Perhaps we have the right puzzle but the wrong piece. As we try to force the pieces to fit, God patiently says, “Not quite, try again, but this time use this piece.” In the end, the puzzle we have solved is burdened with creased pieces and frilled edges. We may be ashamed that we could not be as perfect God, but God smiles because it is unique and displays our undying faith for him. Through these experiences we have become closer to God and each other.

The complexities of faith not only come from faith itself, but more often from us trying to figure it out. It can become needlessly complicated when we try to solve its mysteries. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi: God has no religion. Sometimes it is religion that gets in the way of God. But this is not our fault at all. We simply need more metaphors and personifications to understand God. It is through our simplification of him that we first begin to understand God and faith. Instead of a Rubix’s cube, we start with a ten piece puzzle. Through each puzzle we solve we become better at solving the next until we see the big picture behind it all.

With faith, we cannot just rearrange its stickers like on a Rubik’s cube.  But, like a Rubix’s, we have guides: The Bible and our God. We do not have faith because it is easy. We have faith because it is hard. If we want easy we might as well skip the journey, which leads to missing the destination. What is important is that we are not alone in this. We, as a congregation, are travelers on this path. We have each other, the people of the world, and we have God. This is what is important in life no matter how complex the puzzle maybe. Together we can solve this thing, so let’s hope to it.

Thanks be to God.

Amen