When a little boy wants to play with his daddy, he can be pretty persistent. Billy was being persistent when his dad was trying to read the newspaper.
Every couple of minutes, it seemed, Billy would ask, "Daddy, can we please go play hide-and-seek?"—which was the last thing his dad felt like doing. Finally, his dad thought, "How am I going to occupy him? I'm never going to get through this paper." Then he noticed a full-page ad in the paper that had a map of the world on the other side. "Aha! I know what I'll do." He tore it up into pieces and said, "Here, Billy. Why don't you put together this puzzle of the world, and when you have that together, come back and show me, and then I'll play with you." He settled back to finish his newspaper, and about three minutes later Billy came running back, and said, "Daddy, I got it all together." His dad looked, and it was all done. He said, "Billy, how did you put it together so fast?" Well, Billy's secret might help you to put your puzzle together.
There is a very stirring passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 of the Bible. It says, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." This is a fascinating verse because it's an "If you, then I" statement. God says, "If you will meet these conditions, then I will do this." God says, "I am standing by, waiting to do some things in your life that I know you need done." He says, "I want to answer some prayer that maybe you have been waiting for months or years to be answered. I will hear from heaven. I will forgive your sin. I want to give you that new beginning you have been looking for. I will heal your land. I want to fix the things or the people that are torn in your life." We say, "Well, God, please do." He says, "Well, if you, then I."
God gives four things He wants us to do: humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from our wicked ways. Do you know what God seems to be saying? "Let me work in you, then I can do those things for you. Before I can solve your puzzles, I have to solve you."
When Billy came back with his puzzle, the map of the world his dad had torn up, his dad asked, "How did you put it together so quickly?" Billy said, "Daddy, there was a picture of a man on the other side, and when you put the man together right, the world goes together just fine."
Maybe that is what God needs to do in your life, to fix some of the problems you have been praying about. Humble yourself by surrendering the self-management of your life and surrender to a new dependency on Him. Stop pushing, nagging, and scheming. Make prayer your major method of getting things done. Seek His face. Make sure your time with Him once again becomes the number one priority of your schedule. Then turn from your wicked ways. He is saying, "Attack that sin, that compromise you've been tolerating, that attitude, that selfishness, that dark part of you. If you would let that be touched by Jesus, maybe that would start the healing."
Would you pray this? "Lord, what do you want to change, not in my situation, but in me?" The secret of your puzzle coming together may be just what that little boy discovered. Once the man goes together, the world will go together just fine.