I’m missing a tradition today. For several years in a row, we spent the night of Christmas rapt in the comfort of friendship, chattering away over good food and catching up on life. The highlight of the evening was dumping a puzzle on the table and working together to create what it was meant to be. As I was contemplating what I would share today my memory kept rewinding to those evenings spent with puzzle pieces and the joy of shared experiences. We all have memories of moments strung together and we love to return to them and renew our joy. Today will be tomorrow’s memory. It might be just an ordinary day, nothing special but it is special to God. This day is a creation and we’re about to add all that unfolds today into the masterpiece that is our life. Have you ever thought about how the pieces of our days fit together in one gigantic life puzzle? Each piece on its own is oddly shaped, and although colorful, it’s a flat, meaningless generality. Really? Is that true?Ah, see? This is where we fall off track. We might flat days with odd shapes, but that’s not how God sees them. Every moment of every day was planned by him. God sees our days as opportunities and we should too. “Love the Lord your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
Some of us are planners. We like to write lists with nice neat lines of how our moments will fit together. Some of us don’t plan, but we still expect to accomplish ‘something’ during the day. Either way, when we begin our day, we envision smooth edges, seamless integration, light background, and just enough color to make it interesting. Then we have “one of those days” with prongs, too much dark, not enough light, and nothing fits unless we force it. Hold up one piece of a jigsaw puzzle. This is your unique puzzle piece, not mine or anyone else’s. What do you see? It’s a pretty obscure shape with lot of prongs, so much dark or so much light that a pattern is indistinguishable. One puzzle piece, one day. It seems meaningless on its own, but this day is part of God’s plan and it does have significance and purpose.
Have you ever been determined to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of over 5000 pieces? You approach it with great enthusiasm only to find your motivation waning when the pieces don’t fit, too much dark, too much light, too many prongs. Does it ever seem like that when your days are long, too many prongs, too much dark …. I know how that feels. I have many conversations with God asking him why things don’t fit and begging Him to make them fit. He reminds me that the pattern is His and my job is to have faith and let him hand me one piece at a time and when I lay it down according to His plan, the pattern will unfold and the pieces will fit – without forcing. Then I’m reminded that maybe the way I think things should fit, isn’t how God sees them. Romans 12:2 says “Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.” Isn’t that what I really want? To please God with my life?
What about those times when we have put enough pieces together that we can see almost see the picture but there are pieces missing. Could it be that God gives us those times to remind us of our significance; that we have a unique purpose. In those days when we feel lost, without direction, and we don’t fit anywhere, it’s then that God steps in and reveals more of the pattern and assures us that our lives do have purpose. James 1:4 says “But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.” In His way, God leads us back to that piece of the puzzle and shows us that we are necessary, that we have a place in His plan. Every moment has significance, we have purpose, we are unique, and we fit. You can search the whole Bible and you will not find the word significant. But purpose – that’s a word that God takes seriously. He made us, not with random parts that don’t fit, but He made us on purpose with a purpose.
The next time you see a jigsaw puzzle, remember the call of God on your life. With all its twists and turns, light and dark, mountains and valleys, sadness and joy, you life has purpose – uniquely yours. Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Nobody else can do what you can do because they are not you. We have this day. Let’s all act as if we have an amazing purpose to fulfill – because we do. No matter what, no matter where, life has meaning, when God is there. Let’s offer out our days to God and let Him show us where we fit. Proverbs 20:5 “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Be authentically you, because nobody else is qualified. Ready team? Take hold of your puzzle piece and let’s get out there!