I thought building a puzzle offered a fun entertaining activity.

Puzzles have been popular amongst my friends since covid hit nearly a year ago, so the idea of working with family members – piece by piece – to recreate a picture seemed like a good idea. After asking a friend for advice for how to choose a puzzle I selected a 1000 piece puzzle with ten hidden objects to discover once completed.

I chose a puzzle with a picture of a cabin in the forest settled along a lake. Little did I realize that water reflections in a puzzle prove extremely challenging. Additionally, the cabin puzzle pieces were engineered so they actually fit in multiple locations to finish the scene. Perseverance paid off, however, and after nearly three weeks the puzzle picture came together.

Puzzle – A game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge. Causing someone to feel confused because they cannot understand or make sense of something.

Many puzzles exist in the journey of life. Questions and problems arise which stretch and challenge the ways we think and function. The puzzles of parenting, work, marriage, friendship, finances, betrayal, culture, government, spiritual transformation, personal gifting, passions, suffering, community, and family stretch comfortable thinking and patterns of living.

What puzzles in life have you encountered lately?

Just as each piece of the cabin puzzle contributed to a bigger picture, the puzzle pieces of life function together building a masterpiece designed by God. Even though we often experience confusion as to how the pieces fit together, the God of the universe connects life’s experiences to create His beautiful picture.

Within the Bible, pieces to many puzzles connect together allowing us today to see the broader picture of God’s plan. For example, look at the puzzle pieces of Joseph’s life:

Born to Jacob, the Hebrew patriarch
Received ornate robe as favored son
Awoke with strange dreams
Experienced the jealousy of his brothers
Sold into slavery by brothers
Taken to Egypt
Fled temptation from Potiphar’s wife
Imprisoned Wrongfully by Potiphar
Interpreted bizarre dreams
Appointed as overseer
Helped the people survive a famine
Welcomed family who traveled from Canaan to Egypt
Assisted his brothers
Reunited his family
Preserved Israel

By themselves the pieces of Joseph’s life make little sense and even seem unfair and bewildering, but together they present God’s unfolding plan to save Israel from famine and destruction. As Joseph succinctly proclaimed to his brothers: “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:19-21)

Puzzle – A game, toy, or problem designed to test ingenuity or knowledge. Causing someone to feel confused because they cannot understand or make sense of something.

When we reflect with intentionality, God often allows us the grace to identify ways the puzzle pieces of life connect to create an understandable picture. Perhaps take a few minutes to look back over your life and notice ways the different pieces of your story connect together.

Putting together the puzzle on our living room coffee table took longer than we expected. Sometimes we labored over the puzzle for minutes only finding just one piece to place into the connected scene. Persistence made a difference, especially as we puzzled over pieces that appeared misplaced. In life, we too must persevere as God gently but purposefully builds our unique life picture.

When pieces in life don’t seem to fit, we get to remain patient as God continues to unveil His story for us. Many times when working on the cabin puzzle I questioned if pieces from a different puzzle sat on the table, yet each time, with patience, it eventually became evident where to position the mystifying pieces. They did indeed fit, my eyes just couldn’t see how at the moment.

As the last piece fit into the challenging cabin puzzle before us, we realized a single puzzle hole remained. We were missing a puzzle piece. After searching under the couches, the table, and the rug we realized the puzzle would be complete even with the missing piece. This reminded me that until we meet Jesus face to face the puzzle of our life will remain incomplete. Pieces fit together, but ultimately God places the final piece to finish His formation of our life. We get to persevere and trust that He is faithful to complete what He started. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

After “completing” the cabin puzzle, objects hidden into the scene presented further puzzlement. While some disguised objects became evident, others required a different perspective. We needed to step back and look more broadly at the picture. Those hidden treasures reminded me that the puzzle of our life contains hidden treasures as well. Sometimes surprises appear immediately, other times, astonishment awaits as our life puzzle takes shape.

Notice with amazement precious surprises from God in your life. He places treasures for us to discover if we look closely. Surprises like new friendships due to changing jobs, deeper marital connection because of turmoil, fresh insights gained through suffering, or the ability to encourage someone because of similar puzzle pieces in life all represent hidden treasures placed from God in our life. Look for the unexpected as the puzzle pieces of your life connect together.

Every piece designed by God contains purpose to the unfolding puzzle of life.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

2 Corinthians 1:4 –  [God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Psalm 139:14 –  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,I know that full well.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Rick Warren. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? Grand Rapids, MI. 2013.

Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancy. . Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image.   Downers Grove, IL. 2019.

Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Steve Green. He Who Began a Good Work in You. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNjZIHARnEk

Casting Crowns. Lifesong. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEhIwIjvOq0