In the 1994 movie classic Forrest Gump, the main character played by Tom Hanks repeatedly says “life was like a box of chocolates” but I think life is more like a bag of Lego pieces. My son and I like to build Lego toys together and on reflection, what we do provides a great analogy for how we walk with God. Lego toys tend to come in packaging which has a bag of Lego pieces inside it along with an instruction manual to create a structure with the bag of Lego pieces. Conveniently, the box usually has a picture of what the structure you create with the bag of Lego pieces should look like.
If I gave my son just a bag of Lego pieces, with no instructions or a picture of what the end product should look like, he could try and build something, but I am certain the end product wouldn’t look like the picture on the packaging. What if I gave him the packaging and the bag of Lego pieces? He would know what the end-product should look like but without the instructions providing direction, he will invariably miss some steps and struggle to create the structure on the packaging. But what if I gave him the instructions and sat with him to build it? There is a very good chance that we will end up with a structure that looks exactly like the picture on the box.
Now, imagine your life is a bag of Lego pieces and God, the Lego designer who has also provided the instructions for the specific structure your bag of Lego pieces is meant to create. You could try and build your own structure but without the picture of the end-product or the instructions, you will not build what the designer intended. You may even build something that looks spectacular, but it will not be as good as it could have been. This is because the best we can do with our lives, no matter what we achieve, will always fall short of the best God can do with our lives.
Alternatively, and Christians do this a lot, we take our bag of Lego pieces to God and God shows us the picture it’s meant to create. Sometimes, we go: “ok God, got it, I will take it from here” and we push God to the side. However, without the instructions, we will struggle to create the structure on the package because we will most certainly miss some steps. Often, we come back to God, frustrated. But could it be that we have run ahead of Him? In truth, we will struggle and most likely fail to achieve our God-given purpose without continuous direction from God.
In the third scenario, we take our bag of Lego pieces to God and He shows us the picture it ought to create. Then, instead of rushing ahead, we do what my son does. He says “daddy, let’s do it together” and instantly we become partners. Two things happen as a result: first, we bond as we build the structure together and secondly, the right structure gets built. I believe the bonding is just as important to God as building the structure, if not more. I love the excitement on my son’s face when he finishes one bit and then beams: “ok daddy, what’s next?” This is what a relationship with God should look like. We partner with God to do life and lean on Him for direction in every area of our lives. God knows exactly what He wants our life’s story to be and it’s always a unique masterpiece, fearfully and wonderfully made.
As I reflect on my own life, I realise that I spent a lot of time building my own Lego structure without God. Rather than ask God what He wanted me to do, I did what I wanted. However, at a point in my life, I was convicted about the fact that God was an after-thought in my life choices. It occurred to me that I hadn’t experienced God for myself. What I knew of God was what others told me. King David challenges us to personally “taste and see that God is good” [Psalm 34:8] because we cannot outsource the tasting to anyone else. If we are going to truly follow Jesus, we need to have our own convictions of who He is because life will test our faith in Him. In my experience, those convictions result from experiencing God for yourself through good and bad times.
I have found that experiencing God for yourself requires yielding everything to Him. This is akin to taking the Lego structure you have been building to God and saying, I have no idea what I am doing. Oftentimes, God chooses to crush what we built in order to rebuild it into what He originally intended. This is an amazing experience, but it is a painful process of letting go of self-sufficiency and learning to completely trust God for direction in every aspect of life. It changes everything.
As you reflect on your own life, are you building your own structure without God? Or are you running ahead of Him? Or are you too busy building to make time to sit at His feet and ask for direction? I reasoned that I couldn’t do a better job with my life than God could. If this is the case, what options do we have? If you are in the middle of a crushing, know that God is rebuilding your life into a unique masterpiece, and when He’s done, we will have no choice but to praise His workmanship [Psalm 139:14].