A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”Proverbs 16:9
Liam and I worked on a number of puzzles in the spring. He has been given several over the years that are age appropriate for him (3-5 years old), so I have especially enjoyed working on these simple puzzles with him. He has enjoyed them too, although I cannot say that they have necessarily been easy for him.
In April, as we tried to put each puzzle together, I would often find him trying to pound two pieces together, using his tiny fist as a hammer. In his little mind, he had found two puzzle pieces that were meant to be together, so he would force them together, no matter the effort. Then, when I would point out to him that the pieces were not intended to fit together and tried to take them apart, he would become upset with me and try to keep the puzzle pieces out of my grasp. He had worked hard to put them together, so that is how they would stay!
I became discreet in taking the puzzle pieces apart over time, and eventually we would create the image that the puzzle was intended to be. It just took lots of time and patience.
Today, Liam doesn’t struggle as much with his puzzles. He seems to understand the color schemes more and how the pieces work together. He is also starting to grasp the idea of a bigger picture, and he has done these puzzles enough to know what that bigger picture should be. It doesn’t mean he has mastered piecing puzzles together entirely. They are still a bit of a challenge to him. Nonetheless, he is able to hold onto each puzzle piece a little more loosely as he seeks out the perfect fit for each piece.
Although we don’t work on puzzles too much anymore due to time constraints, the image of Liam pounding puzzle pieces together has come to my mind over the last few months, because I realize with a sense of conviction that I am not much different than Liam was last spring when it comes to doing puzzles.
I think I have been doing puzzles in my mind for most of my life. I hold different pieces in my hands at different times—puzzle pieces representing my desires, dreams, goals, expectations, etc. The problem is, the puzzle pieces strewn out in front of me, most commonly known as reality, don’t always fit together with the ones I grasp onto ever so tightly in my hands. And because of that, I am left with the desire to try to pound all of them together anyway in a desperate attempt to create what I believe to be the perfect picture of puzzle pieces for my life. But just like Liam has had to learn that there is a specific color scheme and pattern which each puzzle piece is meant to be part of, I sense God asking me to trust that all of my puzzle pieces are meant to be part of a specific color scheme and pattern as well. A God-ordained one. And just like Liam has learned that each properly placed puzzle piece will eventually form a perfect picture, I sense God inviting me to trust that He is intricately and intentionally piecing my puzzle pieces together to form a picture that is far more perfect than I could ever make it out to be—a picture that is even greater than my own story and that will far outlast my lifetime, all for His glory.
As we enter this new year, I am very aware of all the new puzzle pieces I bring into it with me. I have new goals, new dreams, and things that I eagerly anticipate about this year and that I pray will come to pass. But I am also aware of my need to hold onto each puzzle piece loosely—to hold my hands open in worship to God with each piece surrendered to Him. Because in the long run, I can’t be certain of how each of my puzzle pieces will fit together or if I will even like where each one goes. But I can be certain of this—the end result will be worth it. The final picture will be splendid and glorious and more magnificent than I could ever fathom. And in the end, I’ll be glad that I surrendered each puzzle piece to God and that He chose me to be a part of this beautifully exquisite puzzle in the making.