We bought one of those 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles a couple of months ago. I love them but hadn’t owned one in a very long time. I know myself. Instead of slowly putting the pieces together over time, I become obsessed. Once that border is pieced together, I’m on a mission to Get. It. Done.
Jigsaw puzzles fit nicely as metaphors for the Christian life. I think about how all those scattered pieces have no form or meaning, but once they are put together a beautiful picture emerges – much the way the Lord takes the pieces of our lives and makes something wonderful of them. We can’t imagine at the time how all of the varied circumstances, both good and difficult, could possibly amount to anything until we one day will see them from the Father’s vantage point and they have come together perfectly.
As I worked this puzzle with my husband, that isn’t the metaphor that came to mind. Once we got the majority of the puzzle put together it became a matter of finding that one specific piece that would complete a portion of the picture. I would carefully match the colors and hunt for just the right shape until I was sure I had the right one in my hand – only to find it didn’t fit. No matter which way I turned it or how hard I pressed, it wouldn’t go into the space. Even when we were down to less than a dozen frustrating little pieces it didn’t get any easier. I found myself saying over and over again, “Where in the world does this piece go, and where is the one we need?”
There have been times in my life when I thought I knew the way things were supposed to work out. Everything seemed to be in alignment; the circumstances looked destined to go a certain way. Yet, nothing went the way I thought it would. None of my well thought out plans worked. No matter what I did, things just wouldn’t go the way I thought God wanted them to.
Hadn’t I prayed about about it and hadn’t I found that verse that seemed to confirm what I thought God was saying? Maybe if I tried just a little harder, prayed more fervently things would turn around.
Sometimes it does work out that way, but there are times when we need to acknowledge we just might be trying to manipulate God into doing things our way. In that moment, the best thing we can do is trust Him. Trust Him to take the difficult circumstances and use them for our good. Trust Him to take the misshapen pieces of our lives and put them together in ways we never could have imagined. Sometimes we don’t even get to see how it all fits together.
But the Lord sees the beginning, the end and all the in-betweens. He has a plan for each of our lives – a good plan. He will take those confusing, hard-to-fit pieces and fashion them into a beautiful whole – one we will some day get to look at with Him.
“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways’ declares, the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ” Isaiah 55: 8-11
- In Sickness and In Health
- Which Path is Right?