Have you ever completed a puzzle? Not a crossword puzzle, but a 100 or 3,000 piece jigsaw? What comes to my mind when I think of boxed puzzles are beautiful National Geographic images that illustrate God’s glorious creation. The image on the outside of the box highlights the vibrant colors and intricate details so perfectly.
This picture on the box lid is so captivating that one feels compelled to try to re-create the image. That initial feeling, however, can sometimes fade after opening the box – it can seem completely overwhelming staring at all the individual pieces. My natural reaction is, “There is no way this cluttered mess will ever yield the beautiful vision on the box.” However, at some point, we have faith in the manufacturer which enables us to push through that initial chaos and confusion. We begin to examine the specific design of each piece to determine where it fits and divide the pieces based on what we can see… corner pieces, edges, similar colors, finally pushing those “odd” pieces to the side in a special pile.
Having made great progress so far, we are almost at the point where we believe as fact that all of the pieces will come together and produce the complete image that the artist intended. Sometimes there are challenges along the way and pieces do not seem to fit easily. At those times we may be tempted to force them to fit into a particular space they are not designed for; or worse, to completely leave these pieces out. Can you imagine how tragic it would be to have a blank space right in the middle of that beautiful sunrise?
My puzzle illustration is a long one, but relevant because it is an example of 1 Corinthians 12.
We have been carefully designed to be Christ’s body as the church. When fully connected, it is an image more glorious than anything a camera could capture. Yet in order for this to be seen, we have to be willing to add our unique part to the whole. Let me explain.
Some pieces are easily identifiable – perhaps you are a corner or an edge. Your place serves to guide us and establish boundaries. For others, it is more complicated. You know you are in a pile of blue sky-pieces, and find extreme comfort in these individual piles of “likeness.” While it is easy to seek what is familiar in a group, it might mean you are ignoring that special unique ability you offer to the whole as part of a body of believers in Jesus Christ.
Also, if we are honest, all of us have had times when we feel like one of the odd shaped pieces – certain there is a defect or that we missed a recall. That is absolutely false. None of us are square pegs trying to fit into round holes. You were not supposed to be blue or an edge or even a corner piece if God intended you to represent Him in another part of the puzzle. Psalm 139:14-16 confirms that we are designed exactly as God planned – don’t try to force your piece into a place it does not belong or be tempted to stay out of the picture.
You do have a place.
Each of us needs to begin to appreciate our unique design, knowing that God never has and never will make a mistake. Neither is there room for pride, because one piece cannot complete God’s plan alone. Since only He sees the final picture, we should be reminded that we are God’s workmanship and be willing to be strategically placed by His skillful hands so we can be all that He intended.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it 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, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:14-16
– Tashna Lynch