Putting together a jigsaw puzzle during Christmas holidays seems to be a tradition for many families. It has certainly been a favorite tradition of mine. Christmas doesn’t seem quite the same unless I do at least one puzzle. This year, we didn’t have any puzzles in the house, so after the holidays were all over and husband, Ron, and I were out shopping one day, I happened to stroll down the toy aisle only to find some lovely, easy level, jigsaws. Ron helped me pick two that I liked and we headed to the checkout. As soon as we got home, I wanted to get right at one of my puzzles. It was the weekend, so I wouldn’t be upsetting our workday routine if I completed the puzzle at the dining table. Within a minute, the pieces were gloriously scattered on the table and I was painstakingly picking out all the edge pieces. I was having a great time watching the various colors emerge and the finished picture begin to form.
There was one puzzle piece, however, that seemed to keep gravitating to my attention, finding it way into my hand several times only to be rejected as not fitting anywhere. Before long, there was only the blue sky and a handful of brightly colored pieces still to place. Among those pieces was that one cutout that really didn’t seem to fit. As I got closer to the end, I stood to the right side of the puzzle to reach the final pieces more easily. Soon the sky was almost complete and only a section of yellow, white, and red bouys remained. I put the remaining pieces in my palm thinking the puzzle would now be very easy to complete. And it was, on top of the little pile in my palm - that one piece that I was beginning to think belonged in another puzzle box back on the shelf in the store. I thought, “Well, I’ll just put the other pieces in and then I’ll either know where this one goes, or I’ll know it doesn’t belong in this picture.” I took my handful of pieces and walked around the table to the other side. I opened my palm, looked down at the pieces and across to the almost-finished puzzle. And there it was as plain as day. I could see exactly where that elusive little puzzle piece belonged. It fit like a glove and made it clear to see where the other half dozen or so pieces fit. And so the puzzle was completed. The picture was now fully visible, its beauty ready to be appreciated.
We’ve all heard stories about perspective. But I was especially struck as I neared the completion of my after-Christmas puzzle, just what a huge difference perspective really does make. From the right side of the table, I couldn’t figure out how or where that puzzle piece fit. Yet moving to the left side of the table made it as clear as if the picture had been a paint-by-number with all the pieces clearly marked for placement.
Many times in our spiritual journey, we can’t see things from God’s perspective. Sometimes, God has to move us to the other side of the table, whether in our relationships with others, or with ourself, to show us that the pieces of our life really do all fit together. No part of our life belongs in someone else’s box. Whether we’re just getting started with the edge pieces or the picture of our life is almost complete and only a few pieces are left to be placed, be assured that all the pieces will fit, and God will have made a beautiful masterpiece out of every piece in the box, just as he planned.
I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 (NLT).