My grandfather loved puzzles. Every Thanksgiving, out came the card table and a puzzle. Whoever stopped by would put a piece or two in the puzzle, and by Christmas the puzzle was complete.
My mom has carried on that tradition. This last year has found her putting many a puzzle together with family stopping by and helping. She has macular degeneration and struggles with her eyesight. Some days the pieces of the puzzle do not go together easily. Matching shapes and colors can be very difficult. She does not give up, however, but stays in the pursuit of completing the puzzle picture.
This got me to thinking and wondering how puzzles were made. I did some research and found some interesting facts. It takes approximately 2,000 hours to produce a puzzle from start to finish. The process takes about 12 months. It involves 4 basic steps:
(1.) Selection of the artwork and artist.
(2.) Printing of the artwork.
(3.) Piece die cutting, which is razor sharp flat metal ribbons stamping out the pieces. (This takes around 400 hours for a 500-piece puzzle.)
(4.) Packaging, where sheets go through a breaker that separates the pieces and drops them into the packaging.
Who would of thought that a box of cut out cardboard pieces would require so much time and hard work!
Putting a puzzle together takes patience, fortitude, and determination. Our lives are a lot like a puzzle. We have a Creator, a Master Artist – God Himself. He is the Creator of our life puzzles. Each life puzzle is different in shape, form, and color. He has cut each piece of those puzzles precisely and intricately.
“You, oh, God, have formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written everyone of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139:13-14)
“Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory, I have formed him, yes, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7)
This led me to thinking about the process of putting a puzzle together. Some puzzles are easy to put together, while others are hard and require extensive hours and work. A puzzle piece out of whack or missing can cause frustration and annoyance. The whole picture becomes distorted and the process hindered. Giving up and quitting can even cross our minds. Sin does the same thing; it distorts the puzzle picture of our lives. It causes frustration, discouragement and the desire to give up. When we do not deal with our sin, the puzzle process of our lives comes to a stop. Things stop fitting together, leaving us wondering why nothing seems to be working.
Making a daily choice to deal with our sin allows our Father God, our Creator, to put the pieces of our life puzzle back where they fit perfectly together. Packing up the puzzle and stuffing it in the closet out of sight is not an option!
David had to acknowledge his sin before the Lord, speak it out loud, confess and ask for forgiveness.
“I acknowledge my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgression to the Lord.’ And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)
God always completes what He starts. God’s puzzle picture of our lives is perfect! It is seen through the all-encompassing love, grace and mercy of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul tells us that we can be “confident, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
I don’t know about you, but once I start a puzzle, I can’t seem to stay away from it! I want to keep working on it until it is finished. Thank goodness, God is the same towards each of us! He keeps working on us until the picture is finished, complete, and every piece is where it belongs.
Puzzles always bring joy when worked on together and are completed. Why not let the Master Puzzle Maker work on your life puzzle with you? He knows where every piece fits perfectly! After all, He has seen the completed picture!