Do you remember the 500 or 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles? You know, the ones that took up the entire kitchen table? They’re a lot of fun until you encounter that piece which doesn’t seem to fit anywhere. We look at the oddly-shaped puzzle piece, studying each groove and jig, but we can’t determine its place. We turn the piece upside-down and downside-up, but to no avail, it doesn’t fit anywhere. After a while, though the piece came with the box, we begin to wonder if it even belongs to this puzzle. Oddly enough, the desires of our heart can be similar. Do you have a desire right now – maybe to do or experience something – and you just don’t know where it fits in your life?
Early on, while still a part of the royal Egyptian family, Moses felt a desire to help his native Hebrew people. In Exodus 2:11-15, Moses stumbles upon an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave and this stirs up the good desire in Moses’ heart to help. However, Moses takes the law into his own hands and kills the Egyptian and buries his body in the sand. The next day, a Hebrew confronts Moses with these piercing words found in verse 14, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Moses had a desire to help his people, but it just didn’t fit into his situation yet – like an awkward puzzle piece that hasn’t found its proper place. Afraid of being reprimanded by Pharaoh, Moses responds by fleeing Egypt altogether, hiding in the land of Midian.
Did you ever get frustrated at that rogue puzzle piece and try to jam it into a spot? That’s a little like what Moses did by trying to deliver God’s people by killing a man. Psalm 145:7 reminds us, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.” What does this mean for us as we try to put the puzzle of life together? We will never be required to sin to satisfy our God-given, good desires. Moses realized this all those years later when God told him from the burning bush in Exodus 3:7, “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Moses wasn’t going to save these oppressed people with his bare hands this time – God would handle it.
Is there a desire stirring within you that doesn’t seem to fit anywhere in your life right now? What do we do with a puzzle piece that is part of us, but doesn’t seem to have a use right now? Maybe we have a heart for a certain people, just like Moses did, but no avenue to serve. Or maybe we long for romance but no partner with which to express that love. Don’t despair; if you’ll remember the last puzzle you completed, those mysterious little pieces always find a home – eventually. Acts 7:23 tells us it took forty years for God to turn Moses’ unique desire into actual deliverance of the Hebrew people.
All this leaves us with the reality found in Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Until we have delight in the Lord, some of our pesky puzzle pieces won’t find their proper place. Was Moses learning how to delight in the Lord during those forty years in Midian? Maybe, just maybe our job dissatisfaction, our loneliness, or any other struggle is God purposefully “jigsawing” our heart to cut a perfect spot for that desire which has been like that odd, hard-to-place puzzle piece.