My family loved to put together jigsaw puzzles when I was growing up. That activity was an indoor winter sport for us. Someone would pull out a 500 or 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, place all the pieces on the dining room table, and begin working on it. It was not unusual for a puzzle to sit on the table for days. Frankly, I can't even remember how that impacted dinner! It didn't matter, though. Every member of the family participated in one way or another--even the occasional guest who dropped by. Sometimes we would walk by the puzzle on our way to do something else and be so drawn in that we couldn't walk away until a puzzle piece was picked up and put in the exact spot it was meant to go. Other times, several of us would sit around the table and chat as we searched for the missing pieces. Oh, how the pace picked up when the end was in sight! Did you ever know someone who hid the last piece just so they could be the one to finish the puzzle!!!
I was reflecting on circumstances this week that just didn't seem to have an end in sight or make a lot of sense. The Lord brought to mind events in my past and how He brought things together--little by little--until the puzzle was complete. Prayers were answered, sometimes above and beyond what I imagined and in ways I would not have expected. And many times God had to take me through some frustration in order to get me to and through those times so that He could answer my prayers and accomplish His plan.
Yes, I was able to clearly go back in time (15-20 years) and see how my life was a lot like those family jigsaw puzzle sessions. Little by little, He was (and still is) putting each piece in place. Once in a while it looked like He had forgotten or stopped working on the puzzle. No, He hadn't forgotten. God was faithful to complete that puzzle. It encouraged my heart as I remembered these things and applied them to my current circumstances.
Each phase of life seems to be a puzzle and I'm anxious to see what the big picture will look like when I'm finished. God's not in a hurry, though. It reminds me of Habbakuk who was frustrated that it seemed like God wasn't doing anything. But the Lord replied to him:
"If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed (Habakkuk 2:3)."
And Paul reminds us that:
"...we know that God causes everything to work together
for the good of those who love God and are called
according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28)."