Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Puzzle of Life

Ethan loves to do jigsaw puzzles, so today we took one for the two of us to put together during Lauren's gymnastics class.

We have a lot of puzzles, and unless they're made by Ravensburger, I've learned that the boxes fall apart pretty quickly. So, my usual technique is to put the pieces in a ziploc bag along with the picture from the front of the box. This works well until one of the kids does the puzzle and cleans it up without putting the picture back into the bag.

That's what happened with the Pirates of the Caribbean puzzle Ethan and I were putting together today at gym.

As we began putting edge pieces together, Ethan commented that it sure was a lot harder without the picture. We managed to get the sides made, but without the box or any of the "picture part" of the puzzle, we didn't know which side was which . . . top, bottom, side . . . we had no idea. It's much easier to put together a puzzle when you know what the final outcome is supposed to look like.

The spiritual application of this did not escape me. I thought of how much like my own life this puzzle was. Me, always trying to make things fit and plan things out the way I want them even though I have no idea what the big picture of my life looks like. Why is it so hard to trust God when we know that He's the only One who can actually "see the picture?"

As God often does, He reinforced this truth to me in the book I had taken along to read during Lauren's class. The women's Bible study I attend just started studying the book of Esther last week, and we are reading Chuck Swindoll's book. The first chapter (which I was reading today) is all about how God sovereignly orchestrates the events of our lives - as He did Esther's - to work out His plan and purpose. This is what I read immediately after finishing Ethan's puzzle: "God is working behind the scenes. He is moving and pushing and rearranging events and changing minds until He . . . [sets] His perfect plan in place."

I find such encouragment in remembering that I don't know what the puzzle of my life is supposed to end up like. I see only bits and pieces, but God promises that He knows the plans He has for me. And, unlike yours truly, He never loses the boxtop. He knows what the picture is supposed to end up like, and He knows exactly how every piece will fit into place.

Now, if I could just stop trying to squeeze them in where I want them . . .

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