I grew up doing puzzles with my family. It was pretty much a given that whenever I visited my grandma, there would be at least one puzzle we would do, most of the time, involving all the cousins and aunts and uncles. It was an activity everyone could do, regardless of age, intelligence or athleticism. Even over Christmas this year while I was home, my mom and I did a bunch of puzzles. Her favorites are the 500 piece ones that you can put together in an evening. Not me – anything less than 1000 pieces is meh; I made her help me to a 3000 piece one which is a little ambitious and I am indeed starting to wonder if we would ever finish it. We didn’t. This year, anyway…
I was thinking about puzzles and how every time we do one, there is a set strategy. We first turn over all the pieces and gradually gather the edge pieces. After putting together the edges, we usually find the obvious, easy things to put together: a bright moon in the night sky; a red house in a forest, etc. Gradually it gets tougher and tougher. You have to put together the pieces you don’t like, like a boring gray sky or brown massive mountain. Some people quit, others take breaks; one or two stubbornly obsess over it. When it is finally complete – whether it is hours or days – there is a feeling of satisfaction even though the accomplishment is only the recreational act of putting together a jigsaw puzzle.
So many aspects of our lives are like these puzzles. We only put pieces together at a time and have no idea when it will be finished. The difference is when you’re doing a puzzle, you know what the end result will look like. You look at the box. In life, we don’t know what the end result is which makes things a lot harder!
Nothing valuable is accomplished without persistence. Your goals (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?) will not always be as easy as putting the edge pieces together. You need the edges put together – you need to see the scope of what you’re doing. Following through may be easy at times and it may be tough. You may need to take a break and other times you may need to push through. Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Whatever the goal, large or small, it is all worth it when you see your goal complete.
When you first open a puzzle it frankly looks like a big mess. Life can be messy. We can be messy. But God knows the picture on the box – He knows you. He knows what you will say and do before you act (Psalm 139:4), He will put you together and make you complete. Just as you plan your goals and figure out how to accomplish them, God is actively using everything in your life to make YOU complete and whole. Trust and believe this fact and knowing that God is putting your life together will inspire you to do the same.
Read Jeremiah 17:14-18. What in your life feels like a big mess? Is it because you have trouble trusting God? The first step to trusting Him is acknowledging you’re having trouble and asking for help. Ask Him specifically to help you and keep this in your prayers. Yes, you only need to pray the prayer once for God to hear it but praying about it constantly will remind you that you need to keep trusting Him. No one puts together a better, detailed puzzle with more care and love than God….so let Him do His work in you.