I have heard all of my life that life is a mystery and we have to solve it. I’m not sure whether it was my mother or grandmother who put that idea into my head, but since mysteries are my favorite genre to read, I have been content with that analogy for years. Then this morning I read a devotional that compared life to a puzzle and I think it is a much more appropriate fit. When I think of a mystery, I think of a bad guy who is lurking in the shadows and the good guy who always wins in the end. Well, that fits if you cast Satan as the bad guy and Jesus as the victor. But in the puzzle analogy, we, God’s creation, seem to have a more active role, so that’s why I like it.
We make plans daily. For example, I knew that this week I volunteered to work at Vacation Bible School at our church. I was first assigned to work in crafts with the elementary children, but that didn’t pan out because it required that I descend steep steps to the classroom. So, the coordinator moved me to preparing snacks in the church kitchen. But when I went to pick up my shirt for the week, I was told that I would be working the check in table outside. I had planned on one thing, but I switched twice. Why? Because I was not in charge! I’m a volunteer.
That’s what we are in the Lord’s army. We are volunteers and sometimes we like to think that we are in charge and make plans accordingly. But God, who is in charge, may change our plans according to what He needs and the perspective that He has. He sees all things and all people and knows exactly what needs to happen and when. Life is like a puzzle that God is putting pieces together and we can only see one small part of it and sometimes that doesn’t make sense to us until we back away and look at it from a distance. We have to trust that God knows what He is doing and turn over our desires to Him so that He can mold us and them into something that makes sense for His big plan.
Personally, I am not a fan of puzzles. The intricate skill of choosing pieces and fitting them together so that one big beautiful picture is complete has generally escaped me. I was able to complete a puzzle with my grandchildren earlier this summer and was so pleased that I was able to enjoy my time with them working on it. I can just imagine God working out the puzzle of our lives, with the image in His mind of what He has planned for us and how everything will look in the end. The thing is we are not at the end yet. All of the pieces are still being placed and we need to wait patiently, without stamping our feet and demanding that God follow our plans. I don’t like puzzles, but I am willing to concede that since God is putting the pieces of my life together, fitting my pieces in with the pieces of others with whom I interact in this world, then I need to let God and just let Him complete it. I have input because He has given me the ability to make choices but I don’t have the final say, and I’m okay with that. I have discovered that God is not only assembling the puzzle of my life; He is also creating it. And one day I will understand because I will see it from God’s perspective of Heaven and it will all come together beautifully.