Connecting the Dots

A year ago, Gary and I were in midst of making a very difficult decision……a decision that meant we would leave a place and a people that we loved because reconciliation had been denied to us.  It was a painful time for us, as well as for some dear friends that were left behind.  One day one of those friends called and asked if she and her husband could come over that evening to talk to us.  Gary and I were happy to have them come, but we didn’t think we should talk too much about the situation.  We really didn’t know what the visit would entail………or what a huge blessing awaited us.

Mike and Beth sat on the love seat in our living room that night, while Gary and I sat on the couch.  We exchanged small talk, and then one thing led to another as Mike and Beth started telling us about their youth.  They told us how they came to know the Lord; about how they met; about their dating days and their engagement, and then their marriage.  Through laughter and shaking of heads, they shared with us some stories of their early rocky experiences but also of how gracious God was to them in so many ways.  Their differing backgrounds and their stubbornness and their immaturity all melded together over the months and years as God worked on them, and exhibited to them His continuing grace.  They grew in their love for the Lord and their love for each other.  God blessed them with three wonderful children who love and serve the Lord today. 

Gary and I sat there, listening and laughing as they told their story.  Yet I must admit that I wondered why they were telling us all of this.  We thought that Mike and Beth had come to encourage us in this painful time, and while our visit was very enjoyable it just wasn’t exactly what I expected.  Until Mike reached a point in their story where he sat up on the edge of that love seat and excitedly said, “You see, God had a plan for Beth and me.  All along, He was connecting the dots in our lives and bringing us to where we needed to be…….and He still is doing that today.”  Mike continued, “I don’t know what all has happened with you guys, and I don’t need to know.  But I do know that God is connecting the dots in your lives, too.”

So simple.  So amazing.  God pried open my heart with those words and the tears rolled down my cheeks.  I didn’t have to say a word or share a word about our situation.  The Holy Spirit was there, directing the conversation and using it to soothe our hurting hearts. 

I’ve given that night and Mike’s words a lot of thought over the months since.  God connecting the dots………orchestrating the events in our lives in such a way that the end result is a beautiful picture, full of His handiwork and love. 

It reminds me of the pictures I used to work on in my coloring books, those dot-to-dot pictures.  I used to love doing those.  Sometimes it was fairly easy to see what the finished picture was going to be, but as I got older I enjoyed the harder pictures.  Those were the ones that were more difficult to figure out before they were fully finished.  There was just a mass of numbered dots but no order.  Yet as I carefully followed the numbers……1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on, the picture eventually took shape. 
 

 
In Psalm 37:3, David said that a man’s steps are established…….are directed……by the Lord.  Each step of ours God directs, even bringing us back into order when we mess up.  It’s easy to look back now and see how step 1 led to step 2 and so forth.  But I’m still stepping and still following, often unsure of where the next dot is or the next number, but knowing that God has promised to direct each step that I take.  Just as I can look back at some of the connected dots and see the picture taking shape, I can also look ahead with full trust that God is connecting the dots, guiding my way.

 
And there’s another beautiful truth connected to all this business of connecting the dots.  It’s something that Peter wrote about in I Peter 2:21.  He said that Jesus left us an example to follow.  That word for example means an outline of a sketch that is waiting to be filled in with details.  Jesus designs the sketch of our lives and then carefully fills in the details that are designed for each of us.  My unique details will not be your unique details.  Or my husband’s or my children’s, even. 

 
God is leading me, step by step.  And as each step is taken, each dot is connecting and forming a sketch……a design made just for me……..in which God then carefully colors in the most beautiful details that I can ever imagine. 

 
Some of the dots may be full of pain…..others with laughter…..some with doubts and questions…….many with hurt…….and a few with carefree ease.  Parts of my sketch may already be completed, other parts are partially done, and still some haven’t even been started.  But one day, I’ll be able to look and see a wonderful picture, whether simple or complex, completed with God’s direction and with His brush strokes of sovereign love.

 
There sure is a lot I don’t understand about so many things.  I still have questions that roll around in my mind during the dark hours of the night…….pain in my heart at some of the hurt we’ve experienced……..wondering why and how things happened the way they did.  But I love thinking about those dots that are connecting into what will someday be a complete and fully understood picture, thanks to God’s grace.

 
When I last talked to Mike and Beth about that night, and asked if I could write about it, both of them laughed and said they couldn’t even remember what all they said.  Oh, but Gary and I remember, because God wanted us to hear those words and to have that lesson penetrate our hearts. 

Connecting the dots. 

And seeing a sketch filled in with God’s perfect details. 

 

 

 

 

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