Tuesday, 23 September 2014


If you visit me you may find a jigsaw on the go, taking up half of my living room table.

I had thought I was no good at jigsaws, until I married Joel and we enjoyed doing them together. He always took the hardest corner. But since his death I have found jigsaws therapeutic.

Therapeutic, you may ask? Yes, firstly they remind me that there is a big picture. Though our box may seem full of a jumble of colours and shapes, we know that eventually we will see them fit together to make a
beautiful picture.

And life can seem like that. Just a jumble of circumstances, and many that we would reject and feel should have no place in our lives. But we know life is not the result of some chance cosmic explosion. Sometimes we are able to look back and see that God had been there, planning our pathway. But even if we cannot understand, we can trust God and know that  one day we will see and thank him for the way he has led us.

Do you start your jigsaws with the edge? I try to, but sometimes I cannot get it right and have to give up and make a start wherever I can, perhaps gathering pieces of a certain colour. Maybe it is a door, or a flowering bush. We must start somewhere, and I find that as that part of the picture emerges, somehow it leads on to something else close by. So in life, there is always somewhere we can make a start, however small, and one step will lead on to another.

I was lent an amazing jigsaw, full of Christian symbols. The  outline was of a dove of peace, an olive branch in his beak. You can imagine the edge was perhaps the last part I could find, but it was worth the wait.

We like to have our borders all safely delined, but the further we go on our Christian journey, the harder become the lessons of faith. God is teaching me to  have confidence in the Master Artist, knowing he has already planned the big picture, though we cannot yet see it.

And now I have a confession to make. I have a mug which holds some spare pieces of jigsaw. Sadly that means that somewhere an incomplete jigsaw was put away, or maybe thrown out. It is spoiled unless every piece is put in place.

And so God gently reminds us that though we may feel we don’t contribute much to other lives, yet we all need each other. Black pieces may not look at all interesting, and can be very difficult to fit in, but they are necessary in the artist’s painting, and so each one of us is vital in God’s picture.

I may leave the boring looking pieces to the end, but how happy I am when at last each one is fitted in, and yes, now the edge that had seemed so impossible is  in place, framing a beautiful picture.

And may I share a word of caution. Like so many other good things in our lives, it is possible to become addicted. I try to allow myself no more than an hour a day. That way my pleasure lasts, and I don’t have a stiff neck either.

As it says in the Good Book, ‘You need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the completion.’ (The Message – Heb. 10:36) So - Don’t let’s give up. There is a big picture, and we are all part of it.