Ever feel as if life’s a big puzzle with missing pieces? I do.
My son is not a kid with idle hands. From sunup to sundown, TJ puts the pedal to the metal the moment he jumps out of bed.
I’m one of those weary mommies whose child loses his naps by the second birthday.
Parents have advised me to institute “Quiet Time” in lieu of a nap.
“Mommee! Is it time yet?”
“Mommee! Can I come out now?”
After a few bangs on the door and some loud crashes resulting from acrobatic attempts from the bed to the floor, I give up.
Thankfully, there are a few special items I can wave in front of TJ, that arrests him to a screeching halt: books, TV and puzzles.
Books are usually consumed throughout the day, for the times I can’t play another round of crashing cars or making construction truck noises.
And because TV viewing is limited to one showing a day, it is saved for the late afternoons, when I’m prepping up a frenzy to put dinner on the table.
Ah, and then there are… puzzles!
There is something magical about dumping colorful pieces of wavy, irregularly shaped parts on the floor, moving them all around until …
The puzzle pieces lock in. An innie meets an outie.
Two jigsaw parts fit together and a little bit of mystery transforms into a recognizable fragment of the picture.
Watching my son hover over the pieces in quiet concentration, taking turns trying out different pieces, I can’t help but see myself in the same position as a child of faith.
Heavenly Daddy, this puzzle is too hard. I can’t figure out what piece goes where.
Puzzles take time, Bonnie. Be patient.
Oh, good! I think I’ve got it. Is this what you want me to do?
Well, maybe. For now, at least. But, the puzzle’s not done yet. You’re just working on the corners. Keep going.
Wait a minute! I thought I saw the piece that had some green and grey in it. Where did it go?
Why don’t you clean up around where you’re sitting. There’s too much clutter around you and it’s distracting.
I give up! It’s no use!
Just like I do when TJ teeters on the edge of giving up and drowning in discouragement, God reaches His hand under dusty hiding places and swoops down next to me.
With a gentle touch to my shoulder, He hands me what I need , “Look here! Is this what you were looking for?”
Gee, thanks, God! Mesmerized, I return to the task at hand.
The Missing Pieces
This puzzle analogy breaks down at some point. In God’s plan, we don’t get to see the finished picture.
Sometimes the parts of the puzzle we’re working on might seem boring, filling in shades of blue for the sky or brown for the mountains. Still important for a beautiful picture, though, don’t you think?
Other times, it’s exciting when we find a brick to pave a path or a knob to open a door.
Only God knows the whole picture. He is also experienced enough with putting puzzles together to remind us: it’s just no use forcing pieces together that almost, but don’t quite fit.
Ultimately, we have to trust Him for all the pieces.
Although God may turn a moment in our lives around just enough to understand how things work out for good, there are difficult parts we won’t ever understand until we finally get to heaven.
Back home, God will finish the picture for us.
We will no longer be staring at a puzzle. We will see something amazingly beautiful.
I think we will see Jesus.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
What part of your faith puzzle are you working on currently?
How has God handed you a missing piece?
Care to share how God turned a moment around in a way that helped you see how things came together for good?
This was originally a guest post at Katdish’s blog: Hey Look, A Chicken!
Line upon line builds a masterpiece. Beautifully done.
Here is a copy of the comments received from Katdish’s blog, where it guest posted:
[*] Bradley J. Moore said…
Bonnie – I love the every-day analogies you use to describe our faith. Your opening reminded me of my wiry little daughter when she was 2 years old – Naps were out of the question for her. We couldn’t even go into the bathroom without her sticking her little fingers under the locked door, knocking and chattering non-stop “Are you done yet? When will you come out?” She drove us crazy (she’s a senior in high school now!).
At the end – “I think we’ll see Jesus” Yes, it will be nice to finally see the Big Picture himself.
September 16, 2009 4:48 AM
[*] Doug Spurling said…
My wife put together a 2,000 piece puzzle of Leonardo Da Vinic’s “The Last Supper.” It was so beautiful we didn’t want to take it apart, however, we were in Florida with our 5th wheel camper. We covered it and secured it to the kitchen table for our 1,500 mile trek back to Minnesota. Each time we stopped for fuel, we checked the masterpiece to see if it still in one piece. It made it fine until the last leg of the journey, when we pulled off the interstate and onto the bumpy country roads of home. One piece lost. One. After vainly searching everywhere my wife contacted the manufacturers with her story. They sent her a new puzzle free.
Sometimes we may have lost a piece of our lives and we can’t get it back. Mistakes, failures, bad choices, life, death but when we call on Jesus all things are possible, he makes all things new. The potter takes the broken vessel and shapes it anew.
Sorry if I got carried away here, just kept seeing more pieces that fit. This may get shaped into a post?
September 16, 2009 6:57 AM
[*] Jeanne Damoff said…
Love this analogy, Bonnie! You share some wonderful insights. Thanks so much for a great word picture to ponder today.
September 16, 2009 8:54 AM
[*] Bridget Chumbley said…
My puzzle pieces are strewn about right now. I’ve put a few corner pieces in place, but have a long way to go to fill in the rest of the puzzle. I need to practice some patience…thank you!
Great post, Bonnie.
September 16, 2009 10:33 AM
[*] Sarah Salter said…
Bonnie, I used to tutor a twelve-year-old autistic girl. One of her favorite activities was putting puzzles together. But, she didn’t like to put them together with the picture facing up. Rather, she did it with the pieces upside-down by using the shapes of the pieces to tell where they went. And she could put it together WAY faster than I could– even if I were looking at the picture!
I think that we’re a lot like my autistic friend. We are putting the puzzle together while looking at it from the bottom. When we get home to Jesus, that’s when we’ll be able to see the other side.
September 16, 2009 11:33 AM
[*] jasonS said…
great analogy, Bonnie. As I was reading, I thought about how simple yet ingenious the concept of a puzzle is- just like faith…
September 16, 2009 12:01 PM
[*] FaithBarista Bonnie said…
@Bradley: So, you had one of these live ones, too, huh? 😉
“She *drove* us crazy” I’m hanging onto the past tense of that sentence!
Enjoy this last year of high school with your sweet daughter!
@Doug: Oh, you’ve got a post in there for sure! I was riveted (2,000 pieces?
“The potter takes the broken vessel and shapes it anew.” Amen!
@Jeanne: Thanks! Wonderful to “see” you today.
@Bridget: I’m right where you’re at, girlfriend!
@Sarah: Thanks for sharing a special moment from your tutoring days with your
friend. What a wonderful story addition! Love it.
@Jason: Well put, Jason! The simplicity of faith is amazingly rich.
September 16, 2009 1:20 PM
[*] Billy Coffey said…
I’ll be honest Bonnie, I hate puzzles! They just seem so overwhelming to me, and I never know where to start. But you’ve just convinced me to pull one of my wife’s out of the closet and give it a go.
Great, great post.
September 16, 2009 2:35 PM
[*] FaithBarista Bonnie said…
@Billy: I’m surprised, Billy! I’d think with all the play you do with words, fitting them
together, you’d be into puzzles.
Have fun with the puzzle.. I bet your kids will want to work on it with you!
September 16, 2009 9:33 PM
[*] Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said…
Taking this in tonight, and pondering over those questions, too. Good questions.
You ask: How has God handed you a missing piece?
And I answer:
He does so daily.
I keep getting piece after piece,
and edge closer to Peace after Peace.
And He fits the puzzle together
with wood and nails
Lovely post. And thank you, katdish, for sharing her with us.
September 16, 2009 11:19 PM
[*] FaithBarista Bonnie said…
@jennifer: What a beautiful response! I enjoyed your poem. Beautifully expressed.
September 17, 2009 11:32 AM
What a great post… I loved it! Many times in my life, I have wondered why something was taking longer than I thought it should, why things weren’t happening… but in the end I see what God was doing all along!
@Jennifer: So true, Jennifer: Waiting is the hard part! ;p
[…] like to close out a week of faithgazing and faith-puzzle playing with a recording that Chris Tomlin himself dubbed “…the definitive recording of one of […]
I love, love, love puzzles. An so does my son (6-yr-old). I always compare my job as a CPA to working puzzles. I prepare some fairly large tax returns and it truly is like one gigantic puzzle. Finding the pieces is the hardest part.
I also love this analogy. I feel that God slowly interjects puzzle pieces into my life. Sometimes they fit, but sometimes it’s an end piece with nothing to attach to it yet. That’s about how I feel about writing right now. I love writing, and I’m enjoying many aspects of it, but I’m not quite sure how it fits into my life yet. I just know I’m supposed to be doing it for now.
I truly enjoy your blog, Bonnie! Thanks.
@Heather: Wow. You are a CPA. You must have a puzzle loving mind, girl! ‘Cuz numbers make my head spin! Oh, I’m so right where you’re at, Heather, about writing. “I just know I’m supposed to be doing it for now.” Amen!