The Jigsaw Puzzle of Life

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The last thing my wife said to me was to, ‘tell people that one day we will look at this crazy puzzle and laugh’. Well, I’m telling people. But I think she would want me to explain what she meant.

She had a beautiful analogy that helped her understand her own pain and suffering. She would say that life is like a jigsaw puzzle. We are here to put the pieces together and create a beautiful picture. Life is about creating our own masterpiece. The pieces aren’t all in front of us at once, and the puzzle only takes shape over time. Some pieces fit in an obvious way, but others are less obvious. At first glance, they seem so out of place. One asks oneself, how could this piece possibly fit into this puzzle. It seems to have no connection to the overall picture?

And yet, once the jigsaw starts to take shape and the picture begins to appear, these pieces start to fit. There may even be pieces that you cannot place until the very end, but ultimately, in any jigsaw puzzle, every single piece will fit. The manufacturer does not put in pieces that are part of a different puzzle just to confuse you.

The same is true of our lives. Sometimes pieces just don’t seem to fit. They seem to be taking us further from our destination, not closer. But, like a jigsaw, all that’s required is that we allow the puzzle to start to take its shape before we try to fit certain pieces. And some we may only understand when the puzzle is basically done. But ultimately we know that our puzzle has a good Manufacturer. He does not put in pieces to confuse us. Every piece is necessary.

In life, when all is said and done and we see the whole picture, we will look back and we will understand everything. And it will all make sense to us.

But my wife took this a step further. She didn’t say that we would look back and understand. She said we would look back and laugh.

I’ll give my own analogy for what I understand her to mean.

My wife once went to buy something she had seen in a free ads paper. She expected to be half an hour. An hour later she had not returned and I began to worry. Another hour passed and all sorts of terrible scenarios started to play themselves out in my mind. Two and a half hours after she left, I was beside myself and thought to look up the ad and call the people. I called and they told me that she had never even arrived. By now, I was sure that she had been in an accident and was in intensive care in a hospital somewhere. There was no other explanation. I decided to go out and search for the site of the accident. As I pulled out of the drive, she pulled in.

My wife, bless her, was never the best with directions. She had missed the turning for Southgate and didn’t realise until beyond Ilford. She turned around, but was completely lost. She didn’t have any money to call me so she just drove around for a couple of hours until she stumbled on the way home.

I couldn’t help but laugh. All that worry. All that frustration. All that concern. Two and a half hours of my life. All for nothing. There was a perfectly reasonable explanation. I just didn’t know it. We laughed together for quite a while.

This is what she meant. 

When our lives are over and we look back at all the worry and all the frustration that we have experienced and we see that there was a perfectly reasonable explanation for all that was happening, we will realise how silly we were. And we will laugh at ourselves. 

So much of our pain in life comes from our own frustration at pain and our worries about future pain. Some of the worry is justified, but most of it is not. Even for the worry that is justified, let’s look forward to the day when we will all laugh together at how little we understood just what a perfect puzzle God has created for each and every one of us.

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