This devotional is based on the message shared on Sunday morning February 16th. The illustrative thoughts seemed to stir the hearts of those in attendance and it was one of those messages that cannot quite be caught entirely by just hearing it. My prayer as always is that you allow Holy Spirit to stir encouragement within you as you read and meditate on what could be titled as “The Puzzle of Life.”
My wife had written a brief note to me the morning of Valentines Day and in that note were the following words : ” I love how God took two of the most unlikely people and brought us together to meet His common purpose. Our lives are only to be crafted by the Great Master’s hand and His final word is the only word we need to be concerned about.” Naturally the sentimental side of me was stirred and I began to think about how the Holy Spirit orchestrated our first encounter and how it led to where we are today. As I was replying to her via e-mail my thoughts turned to how our separate lives could be compared as jigsaw puzzles with many pieces and our two puzzles had been placed together as one by God Himself. To just let you know at this point in the devotional , I am not going to get all mushy and lovey , dovey concerning the love story of Cheryl and Wes , but I want to instead target the personal aspect of our lives being a divinely created jigsaw puzzle made up of many pieces.
Early one morning, after I had already jotted down some thoughts on “the puzzle of life” the previous day, I woke up and these words came to mind: The Heavenly Father is the Maker (Creator) of the puzzle, Jesus is the Master (Lord) of the puzzle and Holy Spirit is the Mover (Guide) of the puzzle. The Bible is clear in Psalms 139:13-16 that the Father knew us before we were even created in our mother’s womb and He knows us now. He is the One Who has knit us together. In Philippians 2:9-11 , Jesus is proclaimed to be the Lord of all creation and one day all of creation will recognize that fact whether they recognize it now or not. And Holy Spirit is the One Who moved upon “the face of the waters” in Genesis 1:2 and is our Guide now on earth (John 16:13) desiring to move every piece of our life’s puzzle in the correct position.
When we embark on putting a jigsaw puzzle together we first lay all the pieces out on a flat surface with the picture side up. Then we look for the corner pieces and the edge pieces. Let me expound for a moment about the corner pieces of the puzzle of our life, two of the pieces concerning the natural realm and two being the spiritual realm. The first corner piece is symbolic of our conception. Contrary to the belief of some in this world, our life begins at conception. It is a fact that in just a few days after the egg in a woman’s body is fertilized a heart is formed and begins beating. No one will ever convince me that there is no God and He is not the Author of life. The first corner of your life’s puzzle was when God spoke you into existence in your mother’s womb.
The second corner is placed in position when a baby is birthed from the Mother’s womb and into the atmosphere of earth. What a miracle it is that when the baby comes forth the little lungs begin to breathe the oxygen on this planet. The facts surrounding conception and birth are astounding and proof that there is a loving , creative God.
In John Chapter Three Jesus had an encounter with Nicodemus about the natural birth and spiritual birth. Jesus stated , “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit , he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” The first two corners of life’s puzzle is the natural birth. Now we transition into the next two corners and into the spiritual birth. The third corner is when we first hear and understand clearly the message of the gospel. This event in each life is one that Holy Spirit leads us to. It is at that moment that our spirit realizes that there is more to life then what meets the eye.
The fourth corner is the moment of decision to believe or not believe in the gospel message that we have heard. It is our personal choice and we have the responsibility to believe or not believe. If we do not choose to believe in God’s simple plan of redemption then our last corner piece will never be placed in position of our life’s puzzle and the rest of our pieces will never come together as they are willed by God. Until we recognize the Father as Maker, Jesus as Master and Holy Spirit as Mover, our life will never come together. Never. Sure, things could seem to be going well and we have a good job and all our needs are met and we appear to be enjoying life, but inside of us there will be a realization that we are not satisfied and the pieces of life’s puzzle will be out of place. The pieces will never come together in the right places at the right time.
Let’s look at that word together. Look closely with me at the familiar scripture in Romans 8:28. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God , to them who are the called according to His purpose.” The word “together” means ” in union with ; in contact with ; in agreement with ; in cooperation with. ” Now think upon that definition of together and apply it to your pieces of the puzzle of life. When we place the last corner of our life’s puzzle in place by choosing to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength , then every piece of the puzzle will fit together for the good. Does this mean all the tests and trials of life are eliminated ? Of course not. But it does mean that even the pieces of life that include tests and trials will still come together for the good. All things, all pieces, fit together for the good. The Amplified translation states, ” All things (pieces) are fitting into a plan for good.” Not only will they fit together, but Jesus keeps them together. Colossians 1:16,17 ,” All things (pieces) were created by Jesus and for Jesus and He is before all things (pieces) and by Him all things (pieces) consist or are held together.” Have you ever felt like your life was falling apart? These scriptures prove unarguably that when we surrender every piece of our life’s puzzle to the One Who created it, to the One Who keeps it together, then His promise is to keep us. The Father is the Maker. Jesus is the Master. Holy Spirit is the Mover. This is true only if we allow Them to be in their rightful place by surrendering all the pieces to Them.
So what can hinder us in totally surrendering all the pieces to The Maker, The Master and The Mover? One of the hindrances can be giving people too much authority over our lives. Let me explain with a clear Biblical character and the pieces of the life of his puzzle. Most of us know the story of Joseph. If nothing else we know from our Sunday School classes that he was given a robe of many colors from his Daddy , but his life is a wonderful illustration of pieces of life’s puzzle coming together even in the challenges of life. Joseph had two God-given dreams that one day he would be in a place of authority. When he described the dreams to his family it seemed as if he was being boastful about how they would submit to his rule, yet he had an innocent excitement that God was going to use him in a great way. But much happened between the dreams and the fulfillment of the dreams. Joseph could have thought that the pieces of his life’s puzzle were in the hands of his Daddy who loved him and favored him. Or in the hands of his step-brothers who hated him and wanted to kill him. Or in the hands of the slave traders who wanted to profit from him. Or in the hands of Potiphar who owned him and gave him administrative duties in his kingdom. Or in the hands of Potiphar’s wife who tempted him and falsely accused him. Or in the hands of the warden of the prison who used him. Or in the hands of the butler who promised to speak well of him, but didn’t. Or in the hands of Pharoah who promoted him to the second highest position of authority in his kingdom. But Joseph had the amazing steadfast faith to understand that in his journey from dream to final destiny the pieces of his life’s puzzle were in the hands of God whether in the palace or in the dungeon. Oh that we would have that same resolve and perception ! Oh that we would have an untainted confidence that The Maker of our puzzle see’s the whole picture, that The Master of our puzzle is not shaken by where we are, that The Mover of the pieces of our puzzle is still in complete control. Oh that we would know that when we love God all the pieces of our life’s puzzle will fit together for good. Joseph did not submit full authority to those around him that seemed to be moving his pieces. This is an absolute tool of the enemy in causing a stalemate of our life’s puzzle. We call it the blame game, “they did it”, “it’s their fault”, when in reality we have given too much authority to that person. It may seem the pieces of your life’s puzzle are in the hands of a supervisor, a boss , guidance counselor, banker, loan officer, government official, a doctor or even a religious leader. When you have surrendered your life’s puzzle to The Maker, The Master and The Mover, there can be an element of trust that God will use others to give us wisdom and direction, but if we think a person has the power to sovereignly move the pieces of our puzzle, then we are set up for disappointment.
Another hindrance in surrendering all our pieces to God is when we are in the midst of tests and trials. Know that Hebrews Chapter 11 is full of men and women who experienced tremendous tests , but because they surrendered each piece of their life to the Lord they are listed in the Hall of Faith.
Now let’s ponder some practical , real-life questions pertaining to the puzzle of our life:
* Have you ever tried to push two pieces of your life’s puzzle together on your own? They really looked like they should fit together. You push your thumb down on them, but they just don’t fit.
* Have you ever glanced at two pieces side by side and thought they did not fit together, so you slide one of the pieces away only to realize later that you should have looked a bit closer and they did fit ?
*Have you ever looked at the pieces and none of the pieces even look like the same picture? Maybe a season of searching for the next piece and it seems it will never be found ?
*Or maybe a season when there seems to be no picture at all and the pieces all seemed to be turned over on the plain, pictureless side.
In any of these puzzling scenario’s the first step is to go back to the fourth corner of the puzzle. Be assured that you have surrendered it all to The Maker, The Master and The Mover. It is vital that we take this step if our puzzle pieces are to fit together for good. Some of the most faith challenged moments in life are when we have to wait, but God see’s the whole picture and His timing is always right. Joseph spent much time waiting, but the destiny was fulfilled as he stepped into the right place at the right time to provide for his family. Also note many of his family members desired to stop the dream, yet they didn’t because Joseph would not relinquish the pieces of his life’s puzzle to them. And what a picture of forgiveness as Joseph sets up a feasting table for his family to eat of the goodness of God. The Father see’s the whole picture. Jesus watches and even intercedes that all our pieces would fit in the Father’s will. And Holy Spirit is called alongside us to move each piece with perfection.
The largest jigsaw puzzle commercially made is listed as 24,000 pieces and is found in Guinness Book of World Records. When the creator of this puzzle was asked to embark on creating such a puzzle he stated that it would be extremely challenging to create a puzzle with so much detail , yet resulting in a satisfying overall picture when complete. He stated the puzzle would have to be an enjoyable experience as well. The final product would take hundreds of hours to produce and its size would be 5′ by 14′. When contemplating what to title this work of art his final decision was to call it “LIFE”.
The Maker of the universe is also the Maker of your life’s puzzle. He has crafted us with much detail, yet His desire is for us to live in the simplicity of Christ. The toil that takes place as all our pieces fit together are meant to remind us we are in the hands of the Great Master. There is also an enjoyment that is found as we see His hand at work. I pray all four corners of your puzzle are in place. I pray each piece that has already been placed in your life will cause you to know God loves you and you must love Him. Whatever your puzzle looks like right now , let us be sure that all the pieces are in the hands of The Maker, The Master and The Mover.
“Heavenly Father, we recognize You as the Maker of our life’s puzzle. You have created each piece. Jesus we surrender each piece to You. Each piece already placed is Yours. Each piece that will be fit into place today is Yours. Holy Spirit we surrender the moving of our pieces to You. You are our Guide into all Truth. We commit our life’s puzzle to You knowing that the fourth corner is in place and now You can fit it all together. The edge pieces are Yours. The center pieces are Yours. The complicated pieces are Yours. We thank You Lord that Your Grace covers all the pieces. May our puzzle be a testimony to others of a loving God and hope.”
I close with these paraphrased scriptures applying to the pieces of our life’s puzzle:
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct the pieces of the puzzle of your life.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts and the plans that I have for you says the Maker of your life’s puzzle. Thoughts and plans for peace and not for evil, to give you an expected end, to put each piece of your life’s puzzle together according to My will.”
Submitted to The Maker, The Master and The Mover,