An analogy is a comparison made to show a similarity. It’s a useful means of helping us to see something in a different light. It’s not the whole picture, but it can often shed light on it or help us to perceive something differently.

In my musings on God’s sovereignty as I watch Him unfold His plans in my life, I have thought of various analogies. These are limited, but in trying to fathom God’s ways, there will always be limitations!

The analogy of a tapestry has always been helpful to me.

Here, I see God weaving together His story with our lives becoming part of that picture. Often, it feels like I can only see the ‘wrong side’ of the tapestry, with all its knots and crossed threads, but on the right side, all is beautiful and picturesque.

Or I think of the analogy of a game of chess.

Here, in this game of strategy, God is moving all the pieces according to a masterplan which often seems baffling to the uninitiated. Then, several moves down the line, all becomes clear. I can’t think far enough ahead to appreciate chess properly and in the same way, I’m often locked into the ‘now’, failing to see how having to wait or how this current ‘disaster’ (whatever it may be), can actually bring good. Joseph is the story I come back to when I think of this analogy. His life shows me purpose even though this is usually only visible with hindsight.

Another analogy is that of a jigsaw puzzle.

Again, the idea of a finished picture, broken into oddly shaped fragments so that it’s not clear where the pieces fit into the overall picture, is the theme of this analogy. Life often seems to me like a jigsaw puzzle where we’ve lost the picture on the lid and don’t even know what the picture’s supposed to look like!

Then there are puzzles like Rubik’s cubes, which require mathematical skills I definitely don’t possess! My son can do these with such speed that I’m baffled, but he tells me it’s all about patterns and seeing the bigger picture.

He can see several steps ahead so that the mishmash of colours doesn’t put him off, because he knows exactly where to move these to end up with each face having its own colour.

All these analogies remind us that:
1) God knows the end from the beginning. He can see the final picture, the finished cube! Often, we can’t. It requires faith to believe that life isn’t just a pile of jigsaw pieces or a messed-up Rubik’s cube. Many today believe that life is just random chance and has no meaning. Christianity teaches that God has a plan for each one of us which belongs to His great master plan and that He is working all things together for good.

2) God is the master strategist. He can think so far ahead, it blows our mind! He loved us and chose us before the creation of the world. Salvation was no afterthought. The devil thought that the crucifixion was the end of God’s plan, but this was actually woven into the tapestry from the start! (see Acts 2:23 TNIV)

3) God’s will and plans will not be thwarted. It often looks as though things are not going the right way, in the same way that when I watch my son do a Rubik’s cube, his actions seem random and frankly meaningless. Then, with a few swift movements, the puzzle is solved and I’m in awe. I often feel that with God. “So that’s what it all meant!” Quite often with jigsaw puzzles, I try to force pieces into place, only to find they don’t. When they are in the right place, they fit. It works a bit like that with us and God. When we try to do His will for Him, the results are disastrous. When He works, everything slots into place and the end results are spectacular.