I have always enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles. My mum tells me that as a very young child I used to do the jigsaw puzzle with the picture side up, and then redo them with the picture facing down!
A few years ago my family rekindled this puzzle solving activity for me and we began attempting more complex jigsaw puzzles of 1000 pieces or more. We had a table set up in our kitchen area and as family members had a few spare moments they would examine the situation and see if they could add to the colourful picture that was materialising out of the chaos of jumbled pieces.
It was around this time we were nearing the completing of a puzzle and I was stuck doing the sky. I looked at the space that still needed to be filled and counted 23 spaces. I then counted the pieces remaining to be placed and arrived at 22! That can’t be right … so I counted again and came up with the same result. We had been working on this puzzle for a week, and after all that effort we would be one piece short? It was tantamount to a tragedy of epic proportions!!
I began to hunt around on the floor scanning for this missing piece – nothing. I checked in the box – nothing. I checked on my lap, in the ducted heating vent under the table, in my shoe, on the dog, my daughter’s shirt, in the fridge, back to the floor, the box once again but no luck. The missing piece was nowhere to be found. I then completed the puzzle hoping that somehow those 22 pieces would magically fill the 23 spaces, but no.
What lay before me was a lovely picture with once piece missing, and my eye was drawn to see that one piece. It was like when you notice a flaw in something and then that is all you can see. I was unable to see the picture as a whole because it was not complete. It did not matter about the 999 other pieces all in their rightful place, just that one missing piece was a magnet for my eyes.
When my husband saw this situation he reminded me of the idea of a God-shaped hole being present in each of us. We, as humans, work hard at trying to fill it with many things: relationship; money; pleasures; family; work; activities; food but they are all a poor substitute.
One of the Bible writers spoke about this in Acts chapter 17 verses 26-28. “Starting from scratch, God made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near.”
My prayer would be for each of us to take the time to examine if our God-shaped hole is being filled by God or something else.
And just so you know … it took until we were packing to move at the end of that year before I found my missing jigsaw piece in one of my drawers upstairs!!! How it got there remains a mystery to to this day.