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Completing the Puzzle

Jeremiah 29:11
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD.

In 1760, John Spilsbury, a London engraver and cartographer, is said to have created the first jigsaw puzzle. A map was glued onto a piece of hardwood and the border of each country cut with a fine saw, creating many different pieces. Teachers used Spilsbury’s puzzles to teach geography; students learned their lessons by putting the maps back together. In 1880, Milton Bradley made the first jigsaw puzzle for children by printing a lithograph of a steam engine locomotive, gluing it onto board, and cutting it into pieces. When a child opened the box and saw the train in pieces, it was “The Smashed-Up Locomotive.” The object was to make the locomotive whole once again by assembling the pieces. A toy for children was born! By the end of the 19th century, foot-powered saws were in widespread use. Employed with photography and engraving, plus advances in printing methods, prices fell and production rose, making puzzles a wildly popular pastime. In the early 1900s, Parker Brothers game company was using the term jigsaw to describe their puzzles.

If you enjoy putting together a puzzle, you’ve learned to appreciate the one necessity that will help you keep your sanity and focus: the picture on the cover of the box! Whenever you start a puzzle, you invariably prop up that box in full view as you begin the challenge. You often pause to examine the tiniest detail of that photograph, looking carefully for designs, colors, lines, and shapes which help you sort out the pieces.

Our lives are much like that. So many different pieces need to be fitted together; so many decisions need to be made which ultimately form the image of our lives. Frankly, we’ll never be able to put the pieces together if we don’t examine the picture on the box—in this case, the Bible. The picture of a life worth living that you’re trying to complete is found in the Word of God. The puzzle pieces you will work with today are best put together with the Bible propped up close by; it provides a clear reminder of His image and His design for your life.