Sunday, September 30, 2012

When life is a puzzle

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. John 14:1 (NIV)
My youngest grandson loves to put together jigsaw puzzles. So I keep several age-appropriate puzzles around for when the he comes for some “Grandma time.”
His favorite puzzle is a 100-piece pirate ship puzzle, which the five-year-old can put together without my assistance. But I still “help,” assembling the border. The straight-edge pieces are much easier to figure out than the inside. By the time I have the border in place, he’s already completed quite a bit of the inside. It’s a good thing the puzzle makers put a picture on the front of the box. Without it, I’d get too frustrated. Which is why I’m not a great fan of putting together jigsaw puzzles—unless they’re 100 pieces or less.
Ever think that life is like a jigsaw puzzle?
Imagine what the young Jewish girl Hadassah, an orphan raised by her uncle, felt when she was taken to be a part of King Xerxes’ harem.
Hadassah’s dreams for a husband and family were dashed. What were her chances of being chosen to the queen of Persia? Uncle Mordecai, who held a high position in the civil service of the empire, advised her not to reveal her family background or nationality. So she had to do things no nice Jewish girl would have done. So much for her reputation.
But she found favor with the head harem keeper, who pampered her more than the other girls, and put her in the best place in the harem. After 12 months of beauty treatments, the time came for Hadassah, who now went by “Esther,” to go to the king.
“Now the king was attracted to Esther more than to any of the other women, and she won his favor and approval more than any of the other virgins. He set a royal crown upon her head and made her queen” (Esther 2:17).
But things did not remain settled for Queen Esther. You know the story—how she risked her life to uncover a wicked man’s plot to annihilate the Jews.
Sometimes we focus on the risk and courage aspect of this story—and that the bad guy gets caught in the end—and forget that Hadassah didn’t know how her life story would play out. First she’s orphaned, then taken from her adopted home to be a part of something that would only bring shame to a young Jewish girl. Then, when everything seems hunky-dory, she’s asked to lay it all on the line.
I imagine, like us, she wondered how the pieces of her life would fit together. By itself, each puzzle piece seems to make no sense. But as the pieces are patiently fit into the overall pattern, the picture becomes clearer.
Life’s puzzle, however, doesn’t come with a picture on the box, at least one we can see.
Our Maker, though, does—indeed, He has designed it—and patiently directs us, one piece at a time.
When the pieces of my life don’t seem to fit anywhere, Lord, remind me that each piece has a place in the picture You created just for me.  Amen.

Special-Tea: Read the Book of Esther through, at one sitting. It reads like a novel!

1 comment:

  1. I really like this post on Esther. I wrote about her in a book Harvest House will publish in February. What a life this woman had. And how faithful God was to her--an example for all of us.