Have you ever worked a puzzle? Most people have. I am not a huge puzzle fan (large puzzles for preschoolers are my limit), but my grandfather (Pop) loved puzzles — and the more pieces the puzzle had, the better he liked it. He built a puzzle board (a large flat piece of plywood normally) and spend hours in the winter (he didn’t have time for puzzles in the summer) putting puzzles together.
I remember watching him. Pop would construct the boundaries of the puzzle first, then start piecing it together. It took a lot concentration and patience, but before long, the puzzle took shape and soon he would have it finished, ready to be framed in a homemade frame that he would make.
As I reflect on Pop and his puzzles, I liken it to God’s plan for our lives. We are all puzzles in progress.
In my life, I can now see some of the “puzzle pieces” God has used over the years. God used several seemingly unrelated events (at the time) to bring me and my wife to Nashville in 1982 which began my journey that led to being named editor of the Baptist and Reflector in 1998.
To keep it short, I will focus on just one of those puzzle pieces now — W.C. Fields. W.C. died Dec. 3 in Nashville at the age of 96.
When I moved to Nashville to become director of communications for the Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1982, he was the director of public relations for the SBC Executive Committee. W.C. was a longtime Southern Baptist journalist and communicator. His legacy lives on even today. The awards program of the Baptist Communicators Association is named in his honor.
W.C. retired from his position in 1987, paving the way for former B&R editor Al Shackleford to replace him. Al’s vacancy led the way for Fletcher Allen to be named editor of the B&R. Fletcher, in turn, hired me a year later to become his associate editor and I was able to succeed him 10 years later.
W.C. Fields was just one of many puzzle pieces God has used in His plan for my life. I know there are others out there because my puzzle won’t be complete until He calls me home.
Ultimately, I believe we are all puzzle pieces in God’s plan. Reflect on the “puzzle pieces” that make up your personal puzzle and how you have been a puzzle piece for someone else. You may be amazed at how God has worked in your life and the lives of others.