I thought this was a well- worn message. Everyone knows that I love my jig saws. I usually have one on the go.
I realised that the new one I had chosen was exceptionally difficult, but I am a veteran. It would not master me. However, the more I struggled, the more I felt God was speaking to me through my struggle.
I have always found jigsaws to be therapeutic; they remind me that however jumbled the pieces may be, we know that there is a big picture and that there is the mind of the artist behind it all. Life is like that, isn’t it? Often things seem to be going wrong, but one day we will see these incidents are part of God’s big picture.
With jigsaws, some people insist that you must always begin with the frame, but sometimes I find it impossible to fit together the border, and if you make a mistake there, you are never going to get the rest of the picture to fit. I always say, begin with something you recognise.
I hope I never forget the lessons I learned from this wonderful gospel jigsaw I was loaned. The outline was of a dove, including the feathers of its wings, but within this border were so many individual pictures telling the Gospel story. There was no way you could begin with the outline.
And in the picture of my life, I have learned to begin with the Cross, and very often, I need to go back to it again.
I came into the Christian life through a movement that taught us so much about the Bible. We thought we had the answer for everything, but I had never been taught that all important truth that Jesus Christ had died for my sins. We had blamed it all on Adam.
Thank God, I eventually came to understand that God loved me so much that, if no one else had needed salvation, He would have been willing to send Jesus to die on the cross for me. I had been the lost sheep, going my own way, but now, trusting in Jesus, I had a new life. I was learning to live the life of an overcomer.
But now I no longer felt I had all the answers as I had once thought. There was, and still is, so much I do not understand, but I was told, When you can’t understand, just go back to the cross. Look up into the face of the one who hung there for you and know that though you do not understand, you can trust him.
And as I plod on, or even struggle, with my jigsaws, I am reminded that, as in life, I can trust the artist and know that there is a big picture.
So I pressed on with this jigsaw. I found some bright greens and eventually pieced a beautiful lady, and then brown pieces that belonged to her very smart husband. Pieces of red turned out to be an old fashioned open topped car. Now surely I could start on the paving stones. I struggled with this until at last it was almost complete. Almost – but I had an odd piece over, which meant something was in the wrong place.
I had lost my joy in this jig-saw. It was too hard. I would give up. But, why this strange depression? After all, it was only a hobby.
I turned the board upside down, and started on the sky line. I had no trouble with the dome of St. Paul’s. I was enjoying it now,until once again I was stuck. Again, I wanted to give up, but I had a nagging feeling that God wanted to speak to me through this.
I remember the words of a friend, who told me emphatically, ‘There is only one thing that can rob us of our joy, and that is sin.’
Well, I had not sinned as far as my jigsaw was concerned, but I must have got some pieces in the wrong place.
Somehow I felt this was a spiritual exercise as I searched for the culprits. I was praying David’s prayer;
‘Search me, O Lord ….see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.’
Prayerfully now, I turned back to the pavement. Sure enough, I found that missing piece, lurking in the wrong corner. It had looked a pretty good fit, but was not quite right. I hope I am learning the lesson, that it is easy to convince ourselves that something is right and yet it is not God’s best for us. But what about those gaps in the roof tops? My lovely friend who cleans for me found them under the table. With a little help from my friends, my picture was at last complete.
Spiritual lessons may not be so easy, but we know that one day we will understand how God has been making all things to work together for good in our lives and we will see the picture of our lives as God has planned for it to be seen, to display his glory.
There is a verse that says that we are God’s workmanship, his poem – and for us jigsaw addicts, maybe we could add, his jigsaw.