In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Proverbs 16:9).

Whenever I meet up with my family for a vacation, a jigsaw puzzle always seems to appear on the dining room table.  We spend countless hours trying to piece together those small interlocking cardboard shapes into some wonderful picture.  It really intrigues me, not so much in the act of putting the pieces together, but rather in the process and the life lessons I draw from it.  (Maybe I have spent a little too much time staring at the thousands of puzzle pieces, but stick with me.)

Most people attack a puzzle by finding all of the pieces that have straight edges, forming the boundary of the puzzle and filling in the middle trying to match the picture.  Many of us approach life in the same way, or at least try to.  We attempt to establish the basic outline of our life and then fill in the details along the way according to the picture we have in our mind.

We desire to have a nice home, a good stable job, a spouse, a family, friends, a gratifying ministry and a relatively comfortable life—all good things in and of themselves.  However, when we focus our heart, mind and effort on obtaining each of these parts individually, the tendency is to view these as "edge" pieces in our "life puzzle."  As a result, they become our parameter rather than a facet. 

In other words, we envision the "picture" of our life (picket fence included) and we try to make everything else fit into it (if only life was that easy).  However, when we have an "edge" piece(s) missing in our life (or our picture), we can become "stuck," not seeing how other aspects and circumstances fit into our image.  God operates in a whole different way.

So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed (Isaiah 28:16).

According to Wikipedia, "The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure."

Some of us started building our lives without that sure foundation of Jesus as our cornerstone.  Many of us have laid stone upon stone without a spiritual reference to determine the direction to build.  We have tried to structure our life according to a picture we created in our mind or one the world has created for us.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he says we are a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We begin to rebuild on a foundation with him as our cornerstone with no parameters to limit our growth or direction.  Our human mind cannot begin to fathom what the Lord has determined for us nor how he will accomplish it.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit (Psalms 147:5).

If we claim to be Christians, true believers of Jesus Christ, he is our cornerstone on whom we build upon, for whom we live, for the purpose we are here, in the direction he guides us and who we trust.  Jesus is the one who determined long ago what our life would look like, not us. 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5).

The Lord does not lay out a boundary for our life and let us neatly fill in the middle, although we may prefer it.  His aspiration for us has no bounds.  When we encounter an obstruction in our life, it is often not from God, but rather self-imposed.  It is something we perceive or an impediment we have built.  Our struggle is created by fear, unbelief, doubt, over-analyzing, poor choices, or disobedience.