Updated: Jul 16, 2021
For several years our mom was an avid puzzle gamer. As she grew older and became increasingly home-bound, puzzles became a larger part of her life. There was always a puzzle-in-progress for her visitors to sit down and help with. They were great as conversation starters or just for spending some quality time together on a common task.
Some of the hardest picture puzzles were of scenes with water that created a mirror image of the picture's main subject. This was especially challenging because it was difficult to tell whether a particular piece belonged to the main subject or its reflection. The key difference is that the reflection is always upside-down. Sometimes the reflection is blurred by waves or ripples in the water. It can be punctuated by objects in the water like grass or rocks that conceal part of the main image.
If life can be compared to a puzzle, then it often feels like there are more upside-down pieces than right-side-up ones. There's actually a good reason for that. Much of what we "see" in this life is actually just a reflection of what's to come. Paul figured this out and expressed it well in his letter to Corinth:
"For now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I am fully known." 1Co 13:12.
When the puzzle of life doesn't seem to make sense to us, or the pieces just don't fit, it helps to remember that we're holding pieces of both halves of the picture. God has revealed some of what "will be," and often, that image doesn't fit what we see playing out around us. The "will be" pieces must be assembled by faith, sight-unseen. The parts around us that make up their reflection -- as blurred or concealed as they may be, give a hint of what is to come.
In life, the image we see may be obscured by pain, regret, or need. Still, it also reflects the beauty of forgiveness, acceptance, and trust in the provision that will come. Amid our pain, grief or need there is still the clear water that profoundly reflects God's capacity to comfort us. It shows us the essence of God's heart. A hint of what's to come when we're right-side-up.