Jigsaw Puzzles and Road Maps
Sometimes our lives may appear to be a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated and random events. We may even question why God allows certain situations to occur. Yet, while many things in our lives currently make no sense, they are all a part of Godís providence. We thus offer a couple of illustrations that we hope will help provide some clarification.
Jigsaw Puzzles and Road Maps
We can first picture our lives as a jigsaw puzzle. When we begin to assemble a jigsaw puzzle, the first thing we do is to study the finished picture on the box. Unlike the store-bought puzzle however, our life puzzle doesnít come complete with a detail finished picture. Yes, we have the Bible as the Word of God along with the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit to provide wisdom for successfully navigating this life. We also have the promise that God is working all things for good to those who love Him (Rm 8:28). Yet, we still have trouble seeing the purpose of some pieces, how other pieces fit together, and how any good can possibly come out of some of the other pieces in our life (see the Days the Locust Ate).
We can also picture our life as a road map. Several years ago, I heard Pastor Tony Evans speak of his first trip to New York City. He was wondering around the downtown area amidst the tall buildings, traffic and pedestrians, until he soon became disoriented and unsure of which direction he was heading. He used this experience to illustrate that, although he appeared to be lost from his limited street level view, God had a much higher view of the situation (Is 55:9). While our road map may only cover a few blocks, God's map contains the entire landscape.
Likewise, God also has the finished picture of the puzzle that is our life. In fact, He is the master artist who paints and superintends it according to His good purpose (Eph 1:9). He is not only aware of all the contingencies that lead up to each event, but all the ripple effects that extend afterward. Thus, we donít have to know all the details, just the Master who not only sees and controls the end from the beginning (Is 46:10) but is the Beginning and the End (Rev 22:13).
As we get older, we continually add additional pieces to the
puzzle of our lives. Simultaneously, as we abide in
Christ and yield to His spirit, the purpose and arrangement
of these pieces will become increasingly clearer.
As Iíve gotten older, Iíve begun to see the purpose behind more and more events. Iím particularly amazed at all the things that I did for purely secular reasons, or for spiritual reasons with selfish motives, that God ultimately used for good (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28).
Of course, weíll never fully understand all the pieces or how they fit together (the final picture) this side of heaven (1Cor 13:12). In the day that we see Him face to face, we will finally see clearly the final picture. We will probably utter such phrases as ďSo thatís why God let that happen to meĒ, or ďNow I understand why I didnít get that jobĒ, or had that financial setback, or that illness. We will also be amazed at the many times that He rescued us from our own shortsightedness without us even knowing it.
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