As I sat studying the nearly completed puzzle, a gaping hole stared back at me. No matter how many times and ways I tried, the remaining pieces in my hand would not fit the open space. And to top it off, the box lid had been accidentally thrown away. Despite the hours of diligent work, I was not much closer to knowing what the completed puzzle should have looked like than I’d been before I started.
I’ve always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles. I love finding that singular treasure that has the special combination of “innies” and “outies” and colored design that make it the one and only piece that fits into the waiting gap. I love the sense of accomplishment and victory gained when each piece is correctly placed, the guesswork is over, and the whole reveals a beautiful masterpiece. However, little is more frustrating to a puzzle-solver than lost pieces and gaping holes.
In The Waiting, Katherine’s approach to life was somewhat like working a puzzle. She had all her pieces, everything she wanted, in hand. However, when she tried to place them where she thought they belonged, some didn’t fit correctly. Either their knobs were too small for the holes or the colors were a shade off. So after years of planning, dreaming, and arranging, she realized her puzzle, like mine, was flawed, incomplete.
How many times do we approach life like Katherine did? We are finite creatures, and we like finite solutions. We love beauty and stories that have happy, tidy endings. But life isn’t a math problem where A+B=C. Or a puzzle where all the pieces fit and make a beautiful picture.
Or is it? Paul reminds us in I Corinthians that our current ability to understand and perceive the divine is clouded. Yet, that cloudiness does not indicate a flaw or an omission. It simply means that as solvers, we are limited by our abilities to perceive reality.
So what do we do when life presents us with a puzzle we cannot solve? When some of the pieces seem to be missing or the box lid has been thrown away? While we may not be able to visualize the image of the completed puzzle on the box lid, it does exist. The fault is not in the puzzle, but in the limitations of the the solver.
Our job then, like Katherine’s, is to trust. To trust the One Who is the Master Puzzle-Designer-Solver. And as Katherine learns, “Life doesn’t always end up like you’ve planned; sometimes it turns out better.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
About The Waiting:
When Katherine Herrington was a teenager, she made “The List” and believed God would bring her the husband she desired. That faith helped her to keep life under control just the way she likes it. But then Katherine loses her mother, her job, and her boyfriend, and after years of praying, she accepts the probability that God’s answer is, “No.”
A professional soccer player, Sam Tucker has lived the life of a celebrity in the UK only to discover that, despite all the wealth and fame he has acquired, his life is empty. He returns to the one place where life last had meaning, and goes in search of the one woman he’s loved since he was a teenager—Katherine. He wonders if she’ll remember him after all these years… And fears she just might.
As God weaves together a rejected proposal, a mission trip, and a devastating storm to turn their hearts toward Him and toward each other, Katherine and Sam will have to let go of their fears, find forgiveness and trust, and realize that their future together was worth the wait.
Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in a small town outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.
Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she’d been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one best seller on Amazon, and her second novel, The Waiting, is releasing today. Her Christmas novella, Mary’s Christmas Surprise, is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Pelican Book Group website.
Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And, most days in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.