Undoubtedly, a puzzle is a problem or conundrum that tests the ingenuity of the solver. In a basic puzzle, one is required to put together pieces in a logical way, to come up with the desired solution. Puzzles are often contrived as a form of entertainment but they can also stem from serious mathematical or logistical problems. In such cases, their successful resolution can be a significant contribution to mathematical exploration.
Solutions to puzzles may require recognising patterns and creating a particular order. People with a high inductive reasoning aptitudes may be better at solving these puzzles than others. Puzzles based on the process of inquiry and discovery to complete may be solved faster by those with good deductive skills.
Clearly, we have no choice about how we come into this world. We have little choice early in life, but as we grow older, choices abound. This is the way of the world. It is believed that this world is controlled by the worldly system connected to the god of this world – the Devil, and we are bound to think as such.
We live in a world today where so many things (life in general) are an enigma to us. We can’t explain where we are, how we got to where we are and what to expect going forward. We live like people who have no clue as to our tomorrow and future.
Going by the perception of God, there is always a clearer understanding as to where we came from and where our lives will lead us. Everything starts and ends with Him.
Life indeed is a puzzle, but the puzzle can only be understood and solved by God.
Let’s look at a very common story in Scripture which is known to all: the story of Joseph.
We see a very young boy born into a polygamous family and the very first puzzle is unlocked. Did God know that Joseph will be born into this family? The answer is YES!
At a very tender age of 17, he had a dream, one which he was too young to interpret but found himself talking about his dreams to his whole family, his father and mother inclusive. Rather than making his brothers love him, this dream made them develop an onslaught of hate. The second puzzle is unlocked. Where did he get the dream from, it must have been God. Why did his brothers hate him that much? It must have been God. At least, this is evident now that we know the whole story.
One of the reasons why we make statements like “Life is a puzzle”, is because of catastrophic events that occur in our lives, both personal and collective. These are responsible for our depth of thought and reasoning.
Joseph’s brothers would go to work one day and their father would ask Joseph to check on the welfare of his brothers where they went. Unknown to Jacob, he wasn’t going to see Joseph, his son, for a very long time. At this time, God has started His work, unknown to any of the parties involved.
To God, it’s a drama that He has put together and He alone knows how the drama will end.
God might be (in fact, He is) up to something in your life too. Please be aware as you read along.
As the drama went on, God would make the brothers plot to kill Joseph because of the dream he had. He already made provision for Ismael, Abraham’s son to be born because Ismael would be responsible for transporting Joseph to Egypt. Eventually, Joseph would have to meet with his grand uncle one way or another. That is the reason why Sarah would be barren and Abraham would have to sleep with Hagar, so that Ismael will be born. Life is a puzzle.
‘Here comes the dreamer’, exclaimed the brothers! The beginning of “troubles”, as we will call them. Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelite’s and you can wonder what would have been going on in his mind. One question Joseph would have asked himself is – why did I come to look for my brothers? At that point, Joseph would have believed that he was never going to see his father and mother again. I can imagine how he must have wept as a young boy. Some will say that was too much for young Joseph. Here is God gradually doing His work and the unfolding of His plan. Life is a puzzle!
Joseph arrives at Egypt and before he gets there, God had prepared that Potiphar would be his master. Potiphar would have married his wife (arranged by God as one of the characters of the drama), who would help fulfil God’s plan of sending Joseph to prison. Joseph found favour with his master and was put in charge of everything, except Potiphar’s wife. There was temporary relief as he has found out that he was not going to be killed. According to the script, Joseph was not meant to spend much time in Potiphar’s house. So, some issue must happen that will push him out to where God wants him to be. The only person cut out for the part and the only part of this drama is Potiphar’s wife.
He lands in prison and I can hear a cry of “I didn’t touch her, I don’t deserve this, even my master did not hear me out”. One thing was evident; the jacket was enough evidence from human reasoning. Life is not fair. What did he do wrong? Speculations will then begin, emotions will rise and questions we don’t have answers to will fly to and fro in our minds.
Sometimes we say with our lips closed; “How can an infinitely good Creator allow the kind of evil that puts the divine goodness in doubt?” It is part of the unfolding drama my friends.
Now, Joseph is in prison.God then needs to link him up with the palace so that he can meet with Pharaoh. He uses the avenue of another mishap to meet with this need of His. Added to the characters in this drama are Pharaoh, his chief cupbearer and the chief baker. The chief cupbearer was restored to his position while the chief baker was killed. Joseph’s connection was through the chief cupbearer, in accordance to the drama script. Did Joseph ever envisage going to the palace? NO, but God knew what He was doing. Joseph’s plan was to get out of prison and head back home. That wasn’t God’s plan. Sometimes like the prodigal son, we just want to get out of our problems temporarily and not look for the plan of God, due to our lack of understanding of His plan and His ways.
Finally, Joseph meets with Pharaoh and by the interpretation of his dream; Pharaoh installs him as the second man in Egypt. I am sure that it never crossed Joseph’s mind that he would get that far. It was like a dream to him.
Is this the end of the drama? No, it’s not all about Joseph you know! It’s not all about you too but generations after you!
It all started with Joseph’s dream, so Joseph would have to look for a way to link up with his family. However, he couldn’t because the drama was still unfolding. God is still at work. So, there would be famine everywhere that would provoke everyone in the world to look for food. Guess what? Egypt was the only place that had food. Joseph was in charge and he would meet his brothers again when they come to look for food. Life is indeed a puzzle.
Joseph is finally joined with his family and here comes the end of the drama – the discovery of Israel and the twelve sons representing the twelve tribes. Israel became the chosen Nation that God spoke to Abraham about.
Joseph needed every part of this puzzle so that the complete and beautiful picture could be formed. Same for you too. So, rather than complain of how unfair life is, think about the fact that God is doing a work in your life. God can use the devil too as one of the characters, don’t forget.
Known to God are all these pieces of puzzle representing the various phases and challenges in our lives. They exhibit His works from the beginning. All parties involved in each phase are allowed to make choices; they follow their course, ignorant that decisions they make all contribute towards fulfilment of God’s purpose because He has the big picture.
Genesis 37 – 47
Life’s a puzzle!