Quite Puzzling

I love jigsaw puzzles.

My mom loved them and taught me to love them. I find them relaxing. Usually in the winter or in hot summer months, I have one going all the time.

Every now and then, as I rummage through the box of pieces, I find a piece that doesn't seem to fit. A splash of color I can find nowhere in the picture on the box. An odd shape or size unlike the rest of the pieces. It keeps popping up as I continue my search through the box and becomes almost like an uninvited guest.

I even start to imagine it doesn't belong to my puzzle. Maybe there was an earthquake at the puzzle factory and this piece hopped over into my box from the adjacent assembly line. Maybe somebody threw this piece in here from another puzzle. I'm almost tempted to throw it out, convinced it doesn't belong.

But sure enough, at some point--sometimes right at the end---that piece fits perfectly and without it, the puzzle would be incomplete.

Often we are faced with life events that don't seem to fit the picture. A child dies. A marriage collapses. The unthinkable diagnosis is spoken aloud and you recoil. No. It doesn't fit.

We want to throw it away, convinced it will mar the perfect picture our life was supposed to become. And we can, if we choose to. We can retreat into denial, grow angry at God, or react in self-harming ways.

We can choose to reject that piece that doesn't fit with our interpretation of the photo on the box. But when we do, we risk marring the picture that the Creator had in mind. Our lives continue with a hole that was never meant to be there, incomplete somehow, and we don't understand why.

Do you have one of those odd-shaped pieces floating around in your box? Does it irritate you every time you unearth it? Are you convinced that it doesn't belong in your puzzle?

Before you decide to throw it away, reconsider the picture on the box. Could it be there is a spot just perfect for it? Could it be that the One who promised to work everything for the good knows what He is doing?

We can choose to work the puzzle the way we think it's supposed to go, or we can trust the One who put the pieces in the box. We haven't seen the finished picture yet, so it's too soon to throw anything away.

There was no earthquake in Heaven when the Designer created your puzzle. All the pieces fit. You'll be glad you kept it when you finally see the finished picture.

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