Coming Back to It


Philippians 1:6: “God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete.”

I don’t know if you like crossword puzzles. I know I do. Well, it would be more accurate to say that I am addicted to them. I might do ten a day, but I figure doing these puzzles keeps me off the streets and also exercises my brain, which needs all the exercise it can get.

I’ve noticed a thing or two about working crosswords I’d like to share with you. If you would like to join me in my madness, and have a crossword in front of you, start from the bottom. The clues seem clearer and the words come more easily in the bottom quarter of the puzzle. Another hint for working crosswords is this: if you can’t figure out a word, put the puzzle aside and do something else for a while. More often than not, you’ll find that the answers you absolutely couldn’t figure out are perfectly clear to you when you return. I don’t know why this is so, but it works for me. I’ve also found that when I’m writing my thousand words a day for one of my novels that I tend to get stuck at 500 words. I’ve learned, as I have with crosswords, to take a walk or wrestle with the cat for a while. After I do that and return to my computer, I know what I’m doing. Writers have all kinds of anxieties, and one of the most prevalent is stepping away from the word processor and coming back to find there’s nothing there. But it’s a chance I take. I find it a kind of Catch-22 that if I’m stuck and don’t so something else, I’ll stay stuck. And then, as I just told you, there’s a chance that when I come back, it all will be gone. But that hasn’t happened. Yet.

Anyhow, the point of all this is that we may step away from God for whatever reason, but God is always there waiting for us to return, just as the father in the parable of the Lost Son waited for him to come back. What’s more, God does not passively await our return: he stands at our door and knocks. He doesn’t kick it in or try to gain entrance by pretending to be someone else. He allows us to respond or not. Whether or not we do so is up to us, and when we do, I like to think that heaven and nature sing. Thanks be to the God who never gives up on us, who waits patiently for our return, and who goes out looking for all the lost sheep. Amen.


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