Puzzles were a part of my childhood. That tradition was passed down to our sons and now the grandkids have been added as recipients as well. We had wooden puzzles at home and church where one object went into one space. Then we progressed to the 9 and 12 piece puzzles where there was one simple picture to be put together. Growing up, a jigsaw puzzle, with lots of pieces, was set out on a card table to be worked during the holidays or summertime. There is always one being put together during beach week when the family is together. As a puzzle is completed, the next one is taken out of its box to be started. Then we begin the process over again of finding the edge pieces; forming the border; and then beginning to fill in the pieces. Sometimes you stay long enough to find where one piece fits while other times you sit and stay for a while. There are times that it seems to take forever to locate a place where a piece will fit. Other times, several pieces begin to fall into place more easily because of the color or the part of the picture that it is completing.
When the boys were younger, we went to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit a friend during Spring Break. After visiting the Coca Cola Museum, Chad decided he wanted to collect Coke items. For his birthday in August, my sister, Vicki, gave him a 1500 piece Coke puzzle. It was too big to even fit on a card table. I had the idea of us completing the puzzle and framing it for Chad as a surprise gift for Christmas. With school starting the week after the boys’ birthday, they worked on it just a few minutes each day while I spent many hours working on it after they went to bed. It didn’t take long to notice that the puzzle pieces had a lot of red on them! Sometimes it was easier to look for pieces that went together in certain areas of the puzzle or that had the same colors or shade of red. Having the completed picture to look at on the box helped us see where certain parts were to be placed in the big picture.
Sometimes my life is like the simple puzzle where I put my piece into the slot where it is designed to go. Since those pieces are not with any others, it is like a picture of isolated events. Other times, like the 9 or 12 piece puzzle, I look at how God is fitting my life pieces together to make my life picture. But more and more I am desiring to view life as being a part of God’s 1,500+++ piece puzzle. He surrounds His world with love, faithfulness, and sovereignty as the border and everything that is pictured inside is by His design, for His purpose and His glory. Instead of me completing a small part of a little picture in the puzzle, God chooses for me to be a piece in one part, two or three pieces in another section, and joining several other pieces in another area. I am fitting into God’s picture by joining and working alongside others in the process. Sometimes little sections come together and I get a small glimpse of what the completed process of that part might look like. Other times I wait for other pieces to go together before God is ready for my piece to be added to that part of the picture. It might even be necessary, at times, to go to a completely different area of the puzzle for God to fit another piece in His masterpiece. On rare occasions, I may even be the first to place a piece in a section. Since I don’t have the benefit of a box with the completed picture to look at, I must choose to walk in faith, trusting God’s plan, and responding in obedience. And someday I’ll see the completion of the picture of God’s love, faithfulness, and sovereignty through the ages.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.Ephesians 4:16