Puzzling Pieces

By Sue Carlisle


Life is a puzzle. How many of your puzzle pieces are not quite fitting into the pattern you envisioned? Like with a jigsaw puzzle, I have often looked through my life's puzzle pieces, trying to find the straight edge that completed the fram or that oddly shaped piece that filled in a scene, only to determine that I must have lost it. I rejoice the most over the piece when I find it!

I recently went through a medical ordeal that consumed my life for three months. I am thankful that I feel better now, and I am grateful for all who prayed for me, and for my husband who cared for me. The jigsaw puzzle I worked on during this time is still laid out on my kitchen table. I hesitate to take it apart because it reminds me of how fragile I was and the comfort it gave me and the lessons I learned as I fit it together.

I worked on my puzzle at two or three in the morning when I couldn't sleep. I worked on it when I wanted to push anxiety asie or when I was to tired to do anything else. Most of the time, I worked on it before sunrise, in the wee hours of darkness. It was in that darkness that I learned a beautiful truth.

My kitchen lights were not bright enough to help me discern the difference between a dark green hillside piece and a deep blue lake piece, but when the bright morning sunlight streamed through the window, it revealed the nuances of color and shading. I easily knew where the pieces belonged—at least in general.

So it is with our lives. As I recovered and started moving back into life, I began fussing over priorities, expectations, and stuff that I was too weak to care about when I was sick. I actually began to miss the closeness I had shared with the Lord during those months. Then I remembered the puzzle. I cannot distinguish the purpose for all the pieces in my life without light for my spirit because I am a spiritual being. I need Jesus, the light of the world, to illuminate the pieces for me. And I don't have to wait until morning.

I remember a time when our family was going through great difficulty. My heart hurt so badly that I leaned over my kitchen counter and wailed. I cried out to God that my family was broken in pieces and I could not fix it. He softly answere, "Give me the pieces." I remember the hope and faith I felt at that moment. God has done wonders with our family pieces. He actually took a few years to work on each piece, bringing them into His picture, not mine.

I am thankful that I don't have to figure everything out on my own. I can ask Him to lead me through each day and each decision and know that He knows what the final puzzle looks like. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Hebrews 8:38-39)

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