A good wintertime activity for families may be putting together a puzzle. For me, the first challenge is to find all the straight edges to make the frame. While working on a puzzle with others, differing opinions arise as to what color shading will go in a specific area. It all fits together for a fun, warm, indoor pastime when no one wants to go outside in the cold. However, do you ever think of your life as being a puzzle that God has planned for you to assemble? Let’s put together some puzzle possibilities today.
There are various options of how to consider your personal puzzle. You could think of each piece representing a year of your life creating one big picture. You might want to shrink your puzzle to symbolize one year of your life. Maybe you want to add one piece per week. Each piece will be uniquely shaped by the experiences you encounter. The length of time for a particular circumstance will alter the size of the piece while your attitude may influence the coloring. Your responses and responsibilities have an influence upon each puzzle piece. A good goal to consider when thinking about your part in your puzzle is found in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
When our family puts a jigsaw puzzle together, we keep the box with the picture of the final scene in view to give us a few clues as to what the final outcome will be. However, with the puzzle the Lord has for each one of us, only He knows what the outcome will be. He is the only one who sees the big picture. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.‘” Ephesians 1:11 tells us, “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.” These scriptures sound like the formations of a puzzle. II Timothy 2:19 states, “the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,.’” Personally, this verse suggests that the Lord has laid out the foundation or framework of my life, or the straight-edged pieces of my puzzle. He has my puzzle pieces designed to fit together for His purposes.
The Lord may choose the shape of my puzzle pieces but I have an influence upon the coloring of the pieces. If I joyfully accept a situation I encounter, the colors of that piece will be brighter while if I complain about it, the hues will be more muted. However, the nature of the experience I am facing will have some bearing upon the overall coloring. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” When I think about my supernatural puzzle, maybe I should say, “I can put all kinds of puzzle pieces together with Christ who gives me the strength to complete my life’s puzzle.”
In my mind I think of the supernatural puzzle being more of a mosaic while the natural puzzle being more of a physical depiction of a scene. Romans 8:28-29 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” It is reassuring to me that God is forming and conforming every event of my life into a puzzle piece that will ultimately fit together to present an image in the likeness of Jesus Christ. My life has the potential of becoming a magnificent mosaic! I desire for my life’s puzzle to be created to glorify God and the beauty of His manifold perfections. When complete, there will be both vibrant and dark pieces in my puzzle, but each piece will be according to God’s design. There will ultimately be a bright and awesome radiance in the portrayal of my puzzle that reflects a visible manifestation of God’s perfect character. It is amazing for me comprehend that God is designing my life into a puzzle that will be preserved throughout eternity.
While the Lord has designed my life’s puzzle, I still have the responsibility to put the puzzle together. Some pieces will fit into their proper places easily with love and joy while other pieces may require more patience and self-control. Either way, the fruit of my labor will be more pieces to my personal puzzle. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” As I assemble the puzzle, I may try to jam some pieces together to get them to fit but it just will not work. There will be pieces that look similar but the Lord has specifically fashioned each piece to fit in only one place within the overall picture. I must not try to rearrange the order or location. Some pieces will simply be puzzling at a certain time. When that is the case, I should put the piece aside and wait for a better fit. I must “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” according to Proverbs 3:5. Just because one piece does not fit the first place I try does not mean that the piece does not have a place in the completed puzzle.
I like the quote, ““You can’t find peace until you find all of the pieces.” (I have heard this statement made by Troy Dunn on the television program The Locator. It is also the title of a book by Marie Maiden.) These words remind me of Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” True peace, which is the peace of God, transpires only when we find and accept all the pieces of our life’s puzzle. We may not understand the shape and color or the meaning and purpose of all of the pieces but God knows; and He will guard our hearts and minds in Christ while each piece of the puzzle is being placed in our lives. We have the assurance that the peace of God will come into our lives when we have put together all the pieces of our personal puzzles.
My Reader, how are the pieces of your life’s puzzle shaping up? Do you have some pieces that do not seem to fit properly? Jesus says in John 13:7, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Since your puzzle is not yet complete, you do not yet understand or see every piece fitting together perfectly but our gracious God knows the beauty of your completed puzzle. You have your own personal puzzle to assemble. It is a unique puzzle designed from all eternity by God just for you. Your puzzle is infallibly formed with every event of your life. When all your pieces are in place, you will experience true peace.
Another viewpoint: Think about a bigger puzzle that the Lord is putting together. Consider each person God has created as being one piece of His perfect puzzle. You are one special piece of that puzzle! Without your piece, His puzzle cannot be complete.