Last December, to my delight, my husband bought me a 3000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Growing up I loved completing puzzles but have never completed one with over 500 pieces. I started it one hundred percent positive that I could finish it within a week and seven months later, it is still in the corner of our living room floor (very neatly organised), awaiting its completion.
Now that I am on vacation, I have decided to take a few minutes each day to work on it. As I am putting pieces together, I started thinking about how our life so often can reflect a jigsaw puzzle. There can be many things happening in our lives (different pieces that fit into the bigger picture), and as we go through them, we realise how they fall in place and contribute not just to our own story or picture, but to the stories of those around us too.
God sees the complete picture
On the cover of every jigsaw puzzle box, is the completed picture that the jigsaw pieces within it, once assembled, will form. We don't get to see the completed picture of our lives and we don't know what will happen in the next 10 minutes or the next 10 years from now. We may have our plans and set goals for the things we want to accomplish in a few weeks or the next 5 years, but we don't know what will happen.
The good news for us is that we serve a God who does. God transcends time, which means he is not limited by it; in fact, He knows the end from the beginning of not just my life or yours but the entire creation. All is in his hands!
"Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" (Isaiah chapter 46, verse 9-10)
Our God already knows what we will do, even before we think of doing it. He searches our hearts and minds to determine our motives (Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 10), and even when He sees that our motives and desires will not always line up to His will, He still chooses us. In fact, scripture tells God that "He chose us in him before the creation of the world" (Ephesians chapter 1, verse 4). This means that He chose us in spite of our shortcomings! What a humbling truth to behold!
All pieces are important
The first day I received the puzzle, I laid out the pieces on the floor and started searching for the borders so that I can have a frame to work with. When I was finished, I realised that some of the pieces were stuck on my skin and my clothes. Days later, we would find puzzle pieces in the bedroom, the couch and even on the patio. My husband once commented that it would be disappointing for me to get to the end and realise that a few pieces were missing.
In life, all our experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly– come together to form a beautiful picture. So often we want only the good things in our life to be displayed, but our failures and disappointment are a part of the overall picture, and they are important too. They teach us resilience, patience and perseverance, but much more than that, they teach us to trust in the higher being, our Sovereign and Almighty God, more than ourselves.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs chapter 3, verses 5-6)
As Christians, we will sometimes fall short and sin against our holy God. There are times when I have sinned and may want to hide it from others, yes, but also from God. Thankfully, God's Spirit within me always shows me the folly of my ways and ushers me to repentance. Our sins, even the darkest and most repulsive, form a part of the picture too because they point to the goodness, mercy and forgiveness of God.
Isn't it amazing that God can take our sins and use them for His glory? By His grace and through His forgiveness, we not only experience for ourselves His unmerited favour and pardon, but we also get the opportunity to testify to others of His goodness.
It works out in the end
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans chapter 8, verse 28)
God already knows what will happen in our lives and will use all our experiences, even the bad ones for our good. I love the way Sinclair Ferguson, the Scottish theologian puts it. He said, "There is nothing that takes our God by surprise; there is nothing that takes place outside of His superintendence and watch-care; and there is nothing that can ever happen that can distort or destroy His eternal purposes for His people–nothing whatsoever!"
Let us be confident that the God who loves us and calls us by name, the one who sees the bigger picture will take care of us as He orders our steps. And let us be fully assured, that come what may, He will work everything out for our good.
Republished from Christian Today UK.