What Is The Most Important Piece Of A Puzzle?


My brother once asked me, “What is the most important piece of a puzzle?” I thought about it and couldn’t come up with a good answer. I replied, “A corner piece?”, to which he said, “No, it’s the picture on the puzzle box.” Well, I didn’t consider the box part of the puzzle but when I thought about it I came to the conclusion that without “seeing the big picture,” or the end, you don’t know where or what you are doing! You might be able to put the puzzle together, given enough time without the box, but wouldn’t it make it a lot easier and more fun to know what the end product was going to look like or become.  After all, maybe you wouldn’t even want to put together the puzzle, if say, it made a picture of horse manure. Why put forth the effort if that is what you are going to get in the end!”

Having an understanding of the plan of salvation and being able to “see the big picture” enables us to go through hardships in this life because we know the effort is worth it. We know that if we put in the time to figure out the puzzle,  and then put it together, we will be rewarded with a beautiful finished product. This product is eternal life, or life with Heavenly Father. There are many examples found in the scriptures of faithful individuals who took the time to put together the pieces and endured to the end. One such character was Nephi. Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.  had this to say of Nephi:

“Among the many things I admire about Nephi was his attitude. His life was not easy, particularly when compared with the comfort most of us take for granted today. Nephi and his family lived for years in the wilderness before arriving in the promised land. They suffered periods of hunger, thirst, and danger. Nephi had to deal with serious family problems exacerbated by Laman and Lemuel, finally separating himself, with his followers, from those who sided with Laman and Lemuel. In the face of all these privations and difficulties, Nephi was able to say, “It came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27).

He understood that there is a pattern for living that results in happiness, independent of the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments that come into all of our lives. He was able to focus on the big picture of God’s plan for him and his people and was thus able to avoid being brought down by his frustrations or by the accurate observation that life is not fair. It isn’t fair, but he and his people were happy nevertheless. They understood that an Atonement would take place, and they had confidence that it would include them.” (“What Does the Atonement Mean to You?,” Liahona, Apr 2009).

Nephi was able to still be happy because he could see past the moment. He knew that “this too shall pass” and that better things were ahead. The history of the phrase “this too shall pass” appears in the works of Persian Sufi poets, such as Sanai and Attar of Nishapur. Attar records the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words “This too will pass” etched on it, which has the desired effect.” (Wikopedia).

Knowing the “big picture” helps us keep in perspective both the good and bad times. By knowing that in this life we will experience them both, and that it is part of the plan, we can better handle the ups and downs that come with the puzzling aspects of mortality. We are fortunate to be able to see the picture on the box of life’s puzzle through the glorious restoration of the gospel. May we look at it often, so that we may see the beauty and importance of each piece.

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