After my husband Paul, spent a couple of nights in hospital, I bought him some jigsaws to complete while he recovered and he hasn’t stopped doing jigsaws since then. Apparently, that makes him a fully-fledged ‘Dissectologist’!
Now we live surrounded by them and he can’t pass a charity shop without going in and buying another two or three though, to be fair, he always takes the ones he’s completed back to those shops for resale. So, a double bonus for the charity.
The larger 1000 piece puzzles he completes on a table but he prefers 500 piece ones which he can do on a board while sitting in an armchair.
He always sorts out the ‘edge’ pieces first and there always seems to be at least one missing on the first trawl through the box. Then, once he’s almost finished the puzzle, we nearly always have a frantic search for the final piece needed to complete the picture.
Sometimes the missing bit has stuck to his sweater and been accidentally carried – and dropped – into another room. Those bits take a little longer to find!
Some jigsaws have all their pieces cut in the same shape but, even so, each has its own unique place and the picture won’t be complete until each one is in its rightful place.
The same puzzles – certainly new ones – are sold in many different shops but however many people buy the same puzzle, I would think it’s statistically almost impossible for two people who’ve bought the same puzzle to put the pieces together in exactly the same order.
Life is made up of so many pieces (relationships, events, tasks, deadlines) and those pieces are often scattered and very hard to put together. If we’re not careful we find we’re combining them in the wrong way and losing sight of the overall picture.
Sometimes when we have a big life event to deal with, moving house for example, it’s as though we’re working with one jigsaw which has lots of other jigsaws within it. Each mini jigsaw has to be completed, then they’ve all got to be joined up correctly in order to finish the picture.
God is working both in the jigsaw of our individual lives and of our world, taking the pieces in exactly the right order and putting them in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.
Over the past few months, I’ve taken part in some online Quiet Days. I’ve always come away with so much to think about. One in December was themed round Advent and it was pointed out to us that so many things had to happen across centuries in order that Jesus would be born when and where he was. How people across Biblical history were moved by God into an exact time and place in history and in the salvation drama; becoming part of the divine jigsaw.
For example, the arranging of marriages across many generations so blood lines were joined culminating in Joseph and Mary meeting; the Romans demanding that a census be taken, meaning Joseph and Mary having to go to Bethlehem; Israel being under Roman occupation and legal jurisdiction at the time of Jesus’s death so His crucifixion was possible, which it wouldn’t have been under Jewish law, even the Romans being expert roadbuilders, which made it easier for the Gospel to be spread over great distances.
So many ‘jigsaw’ pieces – across different countries, cultures and times – needed to be put in place before Jesus was born to complete the picture of our salvation.
Today, God is putting together the jigsaws of our individual lives to make us complete. But we’re also each part of God’s jigsaw for the whole of his creation. He’s putting us, as individuals, into the perfect place, at the perfect time to make his Kingdom perfect.
As part of that, we’re being called to be part of each other’s jigsaws. Jesus is the bit missing from a lot of the puzzles which are people’s lives. He is the missing piece which fits all jigsaws and completes all lives.
As a Christian I know I carry the Jesus “piece” inside me all the time and that I’m challenged to offer it to everyone I meet through what I say, what I do and who I am. That one piece which will make sense of all the other scattered bits and complete the picture.
Who might you give the Jesus piece to? Who might you come alongside? Whose jigsaw might you complete?