Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.Psalm 107:1
A little over one year ago, I spoke at a women’s retreat. The topic: Strength in the Struggle. I had absolutely no idea what the next year would bring. What a blessing that was.
My health is tanking fast. Not in a life-threatening way. Just in a walking-up-steps, standing-too-long, playing-with-my-kids, performing-normal-tasks kind of way. At those times I honestly just feel robbed.
I was having one of those particularly hard days recently when I remembered something I shared at the women’s retreat last Spring. It was a connect-the-dots picture.
My illustration using the connect-the-dots book went like this:
Say your life is like a dot-to-dot picture. At first glance it looks like chaos. Just a blank sheet of paper with dots strewn randomly across the page. Some dots are clumped tightly while others span inches. There is no apparent pattern or plan. (Welcome to atheism. Dismal, right?)
But you, child of God, you perform a closer inspection and realize that each dot has a number. God isn’t asking you to see the whole picture. He is simply asking you to step out in faith and make it to the next dot. Then the next dot. Then the next one. And there are certain things you notice about connecting dots in this way.
- Some dots have very different numbers, yet are incredibly close together. So all those times you thought you were starting over, going backward, you were actually moving forward. You were just in the same vicinity. You weren’t moving back to dot 155; you were moving forward to 586. You aren’t ever truly starting over, because with each step you bring along the experience of past dots.
2. Those blank spots are part of the picture. So all those opportunities you missed, the paths you didn’t take, those were as much a part of your story as all the dots. A dot-to-dot that consisted of all dots and no white space wouldn’t make a masterpiece, just a mess. Be just as thankful for the things that didn’t happen, that didn’t work out, as you are for the things that did.
3. You have no idea what dot anyone else is on, and you will save yourself a lot of headaches and heartache if you just accept that. Oh my goodness, how futile it is for us to compare. The person we assume is so much “further along” than we are (what does that even mean?); the one who seems to be way behind or out in left page, they don’t have a clue what part of their journey they are on- so why should we waste our time trying to figure it out? Let’s run our own race.
4. Even with all the lines connected, things will still be unclear until you see God filling the spaces with Himself. Stepping out in faith, connecting dots as you go, will still look only like dots and lines until God makes things clear to you. When you see Him working in your life, only then will you get a glimpse of the masterpiece He is making.
5. God has a plan, and He had a plan for your life long before you connected your first dot.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.Psalm 139:16
6. God’s plan is good because God is good. Remember His word: Masterpiece. That is what He is making out of you. God can redeem this. He can and does redeem our broken, messed up lives. We are the work of His hands and that is good news because we have a good God. God took the crucifixion of His only Son and made it the most beautiful love story ever told, and He is writing our story into His. Every step, every dot, is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and transformed into a work of art so beautiful our minds cannot comprehend it.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”Jeremiah 29:11
I don’t know what you are going through right now. I can’t imagine the worry that has robbed you of sleep. The tears of frustration, exhaustion, despair. But I do know this: God’s plan is to give you hope and a future. Jesus went to the cross to secure that for you. He is with you each step of the way, and He is looking forward to the day when our joy will be complete in Him and our eyes will be opened to what He was working in us and for us all along.
* For extra encouragement, I invite you to read Psalm 107. It is a beautiful song of God’s faithful love.