Connecting the Dots
When I was a child, I loved working connect-the-dot puzzles. I remember having books filled with page after page of randomly-placed, numbered dots. I had no idea the puzzles served the educational purposes of helping me develop hand-eye coordination and practice number sequencing. To me they were simply fun and entertaining.
Upon drawing a line from number to number in order, I was rewarded with seeing a completed picture, something that had not existed before but that I had had a role in bringing to life. Part of the fun was in trying to guess the picture the connected dots would eventually reveal.
While it is not a perfect metaphor, perhaps this describes life for us in some ways. We may wish for things to happen in a straight line, in a systematic and logical way. We may think that if we do A, then B will happen next, and then C, D, E, and so on. That may be the case for a season, but rarely does every life move along that predictably all the time. Sometimes life seems to be like a connect-the-dot puzzle, taking us here and there, only our dots are not numbered.
Occasionally, circumstances can cause us to wonder how we will ever connect all the dots and how or when our lives will ever make sense again. Some days we may feel as though we are stuck on one of those dots and we have no idea how to find the next one. At times, we are so focused on putting one foot in front of the other, of making any forward progress at all, that we completely lose sight of the bigger picture. Worse, we may doubt that the completed picture will be something good.
As people whose faith lies in the sovereign God and the sovereign Christ, we have the assurance that in spite of how things appear, even when our lives are as confusing as an unnumbered dot puzzle, everything—everything—will turn out not just okay, or fine, but perfect. Author Philip Yancey says, “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”1 We cannot see it all now, but through the writings of the biblical historians, psalmists, prophets, and writers of the Gospels, epistles, and finally John’s Revelation, we have the assurance that the final picture will be beautiful.
God will do more than connect the dots. God will make all things, all creation, new. Yancey says, “In a nutshell, the Bible from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 tells the story of a God reckless with desire to get his family back.”2 As part of God’s family, we can claim God’s promise not for a mended version of a tattered and battered world full of weary and worn spiritual pilgrims, but for a new world where peace and justice reign, and everyone is healthy and whole. God will deliver on this promise because God is faithful, trustworthy, and sovereign.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, . . . [where God] will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore. . . .‘Look!’ [God says] ‘I’m making all things new’” (Revelation 21:1a, 4, 5a).
Jan Turrentine is lead editor for adult resources with Cokesbury. She has written and edited a number of books and Christian education curricula.