If your life has been anything like mine, it hasn’t exactly been a smooth, straight interstate on the way to the Promise Land. My life’s pathway has zigzagged and twisted enough to make even the stalwart traveler dizzy. It has suddenly stopped on dead end streets, and has too often gone in a big circle leading me right back to the same place I started. If I picture my life as a jigsaw puzzle, I not only have many missing pieces called “the future,” but a lot of the pieces of my past are missing as well. It seems like a few pieces for my life’s puzzle have fallen on the floor and now I can’t find them! You know the ones I’m talking about. Take for example those pieces called “opportunities of a lifetime,” which we dropped on the floor and seem to have lost them forever. A few other puzzle pieces called “hopes and dreams” look to be permanently gone as well. From a bird’s eye view our life’s puzzle picture just doesn’t seem to make sense. There are just too many missing pieces to make a complete and perfect picture of what life is supposed to look like.
One of the greatest miracles Jesus did when he walked on the earth was the feeding of the 5,000 with only five loaves of bread and two small fish. After he fed the multitude, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost” (John 6:12 NKJV). Twelve baskets were filled with the bread fragments. A fragment is a broken off piece causing an item to be incomplete. I believe Jesus is still gathering up fragments―not of bread―but the broken pieces of our lives, and once again he is allowing nothing to be lost. What about all of those missing puzzle pieces of your life? Actually, they’re not missing at all. Jesus is gathering all of the fragments. He has those lost pieces called “opportunity” in his hand, and he’s holding those lost “hopes and dreams” pieces in his hands as well.
Broken and missing pieces of life are really nothing new. Many people mentioned in the Bible experienced it as well. Job said, “My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart” (Job 17:11). Looking at the broken and missing pieces of his life, Job felt all hope was gone. But was it? No. Job’s life eventually turned around and he experienced wonderful and fruitful days once more. While hiding from King Saul and fearing for his life, David cried out, “I am like a broken vessel” (Psalm 31:12). The puzzle pieces of his hopes and dreams were missing from his view, but not from God’s. David eventually became King of Israel and God filled those empty spaces in the puzzle of David’s life.
A major piece missing in many people’s life puzzle is the “perfect relationship” piece. Their heart has been broken and that part of the puzzle seems damaged beyond restoration. It seems as if that piece will remain lost and forever out of their reach. However, God knows exactly where that piece is. God is gently holding that piece and He longs to lovingly heal and restore broken hearts. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
I don’t know how He does it, but God takes all the broken, and even the missing pieces of our lives, blends them together and makes something better and even more beautiful than the original. Everyone’s favorite scripture is Romans 8:28 because it offers such hope. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV). I looked up “all things” in the original Greek and guess what? It means “all things!” There are no exceptions. God takes the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the whole and the broken, and He makes it all work together for our good and for His glory. Somehow God is going to take all of those broken fragments, dead end streets, U-turns, crooked roads, pot-holes, and mistakes and mix them together with all the wonderful blessings, joys and victories in our lives, and make one big, beautiful picture that has no missing pieces!
Can you hear Jesus commanding the angels, “Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost?” Can he really restore and heal a broken heart, a broken dream and a broken life? “Jesus said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26 NKJV).