"This looks amusing,” I told my husband, Kevin, holding up a jigsaw puzzle box I’d purchased. “Put the picture together. Then solve the whodunit,” I read. On the box’s cover was the depiction of a murder scene. Several suspicious-looking people gathered around the victim’s desk, littered with clues. A bloodstained typewriter. An antique dictionary. A barely decipherable note. Kevin agreed that it looked like a fun way to spend a few evenings doing something other than watching TV.

That night, we dumped the 550 pieces out on our card table and began assembling the border. After 15 minutes, we looked up at each other. My husband’s eyes showed the same confusion I felt.

“Wow, this is tougher than it looks,” I said. “Some of these pieces look like they have straight edges, but it’s hard to tell.”

We plugged away until our necks ached, managing to finish only half the border that first night.

“I have a feeling the picture on the box and the finished puzzle aren’t the same,” I said.

Over the next several nights, we pieced together more of the picture, confirming that the box indeed had a different picture from the puzzle. I felt misled, deceived. Our “fun” little way to pass the time had turned into a gruelling chore.

“How can we figure this out when we don’t even know what we’re looking for?” I demanded.

Kevin was undaunted, however. A sparkle in his eyes hinted that he enjoyed this kind of challenge.

“Well, a few items are the same, Jeanette. The note and the typewriter, for instance. All that’s missing are the suspects.”

Night after night, we persevered. Although frustrated by the lack of direction, I was determined to master this mystery. Several times during the process, we asked God to lead us to the exact piece we needed to fit into a certain spot. When we found it, we shouted, “Praise the Lord” or “Hallelujah!”

On the final day of the project, we had to rely only on shapes. The last 20 pieces were solid black. When I tucked the last one safely into its spot, we looked at each other and sighed in relief.

Well, I sighed in relief. Kevin smiled in satisfaction.

If the Piece Fits …
“That was too much like real life,” I said. “When you graduate from school, you think you have a plan for your life. Then you realize your picture doesn’t fit with reality, and you have to work and sweat to fit all the right pieces in their proper places.”

“But if God gave you the blueprint for your entire life when you were 18 or 22, how could you ever learn to trust Him?” Kevin countered. “God knows what the final picture will look like, even if we don’t. And He always helps us when we ask.”

I thought of the words of King Solomon: “Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out” (Proverbs 16:3 Good News Translation). I had to agree with Kevin. Trusting God one day—or one hour—at a time always leads to more peace than our best do-it-yourself plans. He’s smarter than we are and He knows exactly where each piece fits.

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