puzzle:

verb: to exert (oneself, one's mind, etc.) over such a problem or situation.

Have you ever experienced an event in your life where you just can't seem to understand why it happened? But then after some time has passed, you look back and finally realize why it occurred and how it propelled you to the place you are right now?

Welcome to the puzzle of life. Pull up a seat, empty your box, and start sorting.

For me personally, some of my favorite childhood memories involve days spent working 1000-pieced puzzles with my sister and grandfather. I can still picture the wooden table we would sit at with thousands of tiny, colorful pieces scattered across it, and the look of steady contemplation across my grandfather’s face as he would peer over his glasses.

Even though we would concentrate on working the puzzle, that didn't mean we were always quiet. Working puzzles created a perfect time to have some of the best conversations with my grandfather and sister. Puzzle pieces weren't the only things exchanged during those hours, but wisdom and life advice as well.

If you have ever worked a puzzle in your lifetime, you understand the challenge that comes with putting one together.

First, you must pour out every precisely shaped piece into an array, being super careful not to lose one, for each piece is essential to the puzzle’s completion. Next, you might group the pieces based on color and build separate sections of the puzzle. Then comes the time, patience, and dedication you must apply to inspect and combine all of the pieces to create the final result: one big picture.

In many ways, this puzzle assembling process can be compared to our lives. Yet the difference is not knowing what your big picture looks like, not knowing exactly what you are working towards.

The pieces of your life puzzle are every moment you have ever experienced and have yet to experience in your lifetime. They represent life stages, memories, and events. As life goes on, our puzzle slowly comes together piece by piece, section by section.

We can’t choose how our life puzzle is going to fit together. I believe that God has already designed and predestined our complete life puzzle exactly for us. He is the only one who knows what our big picture looks like.

Sometimes we get frustrated because we can’t find that specific piece that would help us understand, or we try to fit a piece into our lives that isn't meant to be.

Yet we press on in pursuit of finding the right fit, finishing the next section of our life, and getting closer to the final, big picture.

Friends and family and those who are significant to us help us build our life puzzle. Their advice guides us through obstacles and challenges. They are always there, right across the table, to offer you a new piece of wisdom.

At times we find ourselves in the unknown as we wait for our puzzle to come together. The fear of unknown can become prominent as we anticipate what our big picture holds. For me personally, being the type-A college student that I am, I always long to know what the future holds. But that is where our faith and trust in the Lord must kick in to endure the contemplation and questioning of our life pieces.

The challenge of our life puzzle is waiting for those pieces to fall into place.

We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We do not possess the ability to foresee our future. Maybe you are unsure about what you are going to do after college. Maybe you are struggling with understanding why a certain event took place in your life. We all long to make sense of the pieces and see how they will assemble to reveal what our big picture looks like. Just like a puzzle, we must work through these questions and challenges of everyday life with time, patience, and diligence at hand.

We must never let the challenge of our life puzzle make us impatient. We must trust that in their own time, the pieces will fall perfectly into their place of purpose.

So here’s to right now. Here’s to the present day that is in the works of forming our life puzzle. Be excited to see how God has planned for them to interlock and establish the story of your life. What a glorious day it will be when the pieces have fallen, and the puzzle of our life is complete. Because then and only then will we finally understand why the pieces fell exactly the way that they did.