The picture on top of the puzzle box


I am not a puzzle person. There are a couple members in our family who love to work on puzzles. Other members will come alongside and add a few pieces here and there. When we get together on holidays or weekends, a card table is set up in the living room and it stays up for the duration of our family’s vacation time together.

“Work” on puzzles is correct. Trying to fit together 1,000 green, brown and red pieces and make sense of them is unreasonable to ask of anyone. The goal is to connect all those random pieces and make them look like the picture on top of the box.

Family members will spend days and weeks and will hurry up to finish it before they leave to return home. When it is complete, they take a picture, then break up the pieces and put them back into the box. Usually, there is one piece missing. Is that intentional on the part of the puzzle manufacture? In my estimation, the blank hole adds another point of frustration.

I must be missing something. The family says working on puzzles is more than staring at funny shaped squares with knobs sticking out on each side. Apparently, I’ve missed the puzzle-making experience completely.

Like, what am I missing? All I can see is that I can’t see the picture for all the pieces.

They say the pieces connect boundaries with similar shapes and colors and they enjoy completing the process with other members. It is a place or reason to sit down and be quiet and find contentment and satisfaction together.

Wouldn’t a good Hallmark movie or a great meal do the same thing? Sounds like an introvert experience to me. I’ve watched my family sit for hours in front of an unfinished puzzle, never saying a word, not even sharing a good laugh.

I am sure it sounds as non-sensible as when each morning, with a cup of coffee in hand, my Sweet Al and I ponder words from God’s book. We delve into God’s pieces of life’s puzzle and we see the larger picture. As we study, we are being transformed into the image on the top of the box.

When I invite the kids to join us, they give me this odd look. They say, “No, no, no. Go ahead and enjoy it, we’ll catch some breakfast instead.” It’s the same resistance as when they invite me to sit down with them and work on a puzzle. Apparently, we are all missing the bigger picture. Maybe it’s called “getting to know you.”

Life is a mystery at best. I’ve asked many times, “What’s this life all about? Surely, it is more than breathing air with the help of a CPAP machine. The end of our days will surely give us a clue as to how we fit into this Masterful Puzzle.”

Forrest Gump said, “My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

So true, but whatever we get,”we are a piece of the mystery. If we close our hearts to someone we meet along the way, we will miss that special piece, which completes the image on the top of the box.

Every life exists to complete his or her part for someone else. When we sit looking at those odd shapes with the bigger picture in mind, we begin to see the true image of what this life is all about.

There is a Bible story character which has fascinated my Sweet Al and I. His name is Josiah. As we studied his life in 2 Kings 23:15-17, his story became a bigger mystery to us. There was a man by the name of Josiah, a good king, who came to the mountain and destroyed all the altars of the foreign gods. Afterwards, he was led into a cave, which he found a scroll written by a prophet years before. It spoke of a man named Josiah who would come and break down the altars. The prophecy was about him. He read the words of a prophet, which was written about him years before he lived it.

Life is a challenge and a puzzle at best. The days of our lives are written down before we live them. God made sure He included the last piece of the puzzle in the box, which completes the picture for us and for others. He did it so that we can make sense of this crazy life we are living.

Final brushstroke: Josiah lived the prophetic words written about him years before, which became his purpose and destiny. It’s a puzzler, but his story doesn’t seem that strange to me. It is only hard to explain how his life was verified by another person. I believe if we live from who we are meant to be, we will live in our potential and verify others in their fullness, also. When we line up our life with the picture on top of the puzzle box, we have an inkling of what we are suppose to look like when we are finished.

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