When life is a puzzle

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My younger son loves to work on puzzles. Since he was a toddler I am amazed me by his patience and perseverance as he tries to fit each piece of the puzzle in its proper location. Sometimes I try to help, but I get frustrated way too soon, stuck with one piece of the puzzle that does not seem to fit properly anywhere, and I give up on trying to reach the bigger picture.

While I watched him the other day working on his puzzle, it hit me that life is just like a puzzle. Or rather, my life is one piece of a bigger puzzle. All the information I have about myself lies in this one piece that has been given to me. I don't know exactly where it goes in the big picture, and the colors printed on it don't even make sense. All I get to see are the lines, curves and cuts on this one piece that has been given to me.

Sometimes, it seems as my piece has no purpose, function or meaning; it is just a broken part longing to be connected to something bigger, to become part of something complete. But I hang on, to this one piece, knowing that it is also whom I am.

I watch as my son carefully places the parts of his puzzle together, and then after working hard for a few days, he finally lands the last piece inside the puzzle. A beautiful picture takes shape, it makes sense now, it has meaning. It took hundreds of small, insignificant shapes and pieces, but once attached together, they all serve a purpose, they are all valuable.

With a smile on my face, I understand the message right in front of me, in the form of this puzzle. God has given me my one piece, and it is worthless to burn my brain trying to rationalize why my piece looks the way it does, why it has cuts and bright spots and dark spots in a strange mix, why it does not look like that other person's piece. But now I get it, my piece is part of a bigger picture, way bigger than my brain can wrap around.

Heavenly hands place this puzzle together, covering thousands of years and billions of people. He knows how beautiful the bigger picture will look like when all the pieces come together. He values each piece as unique, beautiful and meaningful. He loves every piece to death.

I can rest in this truth. I can hold unto my piece of the puzzle, and love the way it looks, cherish its cuts and bright and dark spots. I can rest assured that my piece is necessary, essential, vital in the making of this puzzle. Without my piece, there is no final picture. And yet, I don't need to know how the pieces fit together, I don't need to try to figure things out. God takes care of the puzzle, I can rest on His hands. 

"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully know."