Anyone who knows Jonathan knows that he is a jigsaw-puzzle fanatic.
300-piece fish puzzle
Doing two puzzles at once? No sweat!
working hard with Grandpa
Watching Jonathan do a jigsaw puzzle is quite eye-opening. The most interesting thing is that he doesn't need to use the picture on the box as a guide. When I'm helping him with a puzzle, I have to keep looking at the picture to see what shape or colour goes where; otherwise it feels completely random. But Jonathan's mind processes the puzzle differently. He observes the pieces in relation to one another, not to a preconceived picture, and after doing the same puzzle a few times he knows it so well that he can often select the right piece when it's facing down in a pile of other facing-down pieces. It's humbling to be sitting there with a puzzle piece in my hand, trying to figure out where it goes, only to have him grab it away and put it right where it belongs.
Jonathan is an equal-opportunity puzzler:
"The Little Mermaid" suits him just fine.
In some ways our lives are like a puzzle. Those of us who believe in God believe that there's a plan and purpose for each one of us: the things that happen to us, the people we meet, and the experiences we have all come together to make up our life and the person we become. But our life doesn't come in a box with a picture on the front. We don't have things all set out for us ahead of time so that we can confidently place every piece of our life exactly where it belongs, with no doubts or mistakes or regrets. And that's a disconcerting way to live. We can start having thoughts like this: Maybe I'll never get this puzzle done right. Maybe there was a mistake at the manufacturer's and this piece actually belongs in a different box. Maybe this event wasn't supposed to happen. Maybe I'll never become who I'm meant to be without more information about the big picture.
Grandma loved her crossword puzzles;
Jonathan's all about the jigsaw puzzles.
There's a word for living life without having a picture on a box to go by: faith. In Hebrews 11 in the Bible, it says that "faith gives us assurance about what we do not see" and that "without faith it is impossible to please God." If we knew the whole picture ahead of time, we wouldn't need faith -- and according to those verses, we do need it if we're going to have a relationship with God. Living in faith means trusting even when we don't have a clear picture to work from -- trusting that the episodes in the story of our lives are part of God's bigger, better story.
So when he sits down to do a puzzle, Jonathan is practicing faith -- and teaching the rest of us in the process.