Dots on the donut … dots in a dot-to-dot book, one of the few toys my three-year-old grandson had when his family was air-evacuated for his baby sister’s two-month-early arrival.There he and I were in the tiny apartment every day, not much but Grandma, books, the dot book and our imaginations to play with. A highly intelligent child,he could count to 100 by the time he was two, but faced with something he’d never tried before, he was hesitant to connect the dots in the book by himself. I decided to help him overcome his anxiety by starting,connecting the first two dots, then handing him the pencil to connect dot #2 to dot #3, then I’d connect to dot #4, he’d draw to dot #5, and little by little, he overcame his hesitancy and soon was asking me to draw dot-to-dot pictures in my little notebook. I hope part of what he learned, beyond connecting dots, was how much his Grandma loved and loves him just for who he is, anxieties and insecurities and all. I see who he can be and the success he can achieve, given little encouraging nudge.
Can I confess I’m not much different from my grandson when it comes to connecting the dots and finding meaning and reason in the jumbled craziness life often brings? A friend mine recently posted on a social media site that he believes each of us is still a small child inside looking to be loved. I agree totally. I know part of me is, despite all I’ve accomplished and learned to handle in my more-than-I-care-to-admit decades of living.
So what does this have to do with God Almighty? I know why we call him Father! All through my life, and more pointedly in the last two decades, I can see God connecting dots all over the place in my life. I have a strong hunch God is doing the same thing for me that I was doing for my grandson: showing me he loves and cares about ME, not my insecurities or anxieties or hang-ups ,and he sees potential in me.
Some dots I’ve seen God connect in the past:
Moving me,via a radio show my husband heard, to a new church where I’d get an unimaginable connection and chance four year’s between dots later to write books with the senior pastor.
Moving us across the country, where God connected me with Dana and Loretta (in their next-to-last Sunday at that church) who connected me with Hiroko to help Hiroko, but via their obvious “you should be here” connection, God connected me to Julia, whose mother across the world would meet me ten years between the dots later at the airport to help me find/connect with my son and his family, some 36 hours after the emergency evacuation.
Connecting me with Marilyn, who connected me with Donna, who allowed me to write leaders’ guides for her incredible ministry about five years between dots.
Connecting me with “Ken,” who incredibly lived as a child with his mother two blocks up the street from where the grandmother of Mark, Julia’s husband, lived, and Mark’s grandmother knew of “Ken’s” family. Now we’re talking 60 years between the dots!
On the heels of “Ken’s” tragic death, connecting me with a woman during the memorial ride at the informal service I did on the street corner – I don’t even remember her name now – who connected me with the chaplain in the county jail ministry who put copies of the devotional book “Ken” encouraged me to publish into the county jail. No way, God! Were those broken hearts your intended audience/readers for this book all along?
Connecting me with “Dan,” who drove me to a meeting because of my connecting with “Ken.”Dan connected with the barber who cut his hair during my meeting, who connected “Dan” with his church, where the next week I connected with Donna, who asked if my kids knew “Dr. John” half a world away. A week later via a call my son says yes,they know “Dr John” very well from their small group! Two weeks later I get a text from Donna’s husband who tells me “Dr John”will be speaking in a church a two-hour’s drive from me, a church I know of from a connection 36 dots-worth of years earlier wjem O did youth ministry, and I drive up and get to meet and surprise “Dr John”and meet his daughter who is in the same grade at the same school with my grandson half a world away, and his daughter who is in the same class with my granddaughter there. The next week at the church where I met Donna, God connects me with a young woman whose father happened to work decades of dots ago way up north with the husband of my best buddy “Patty,”whom I met fifteen dots worth of years ago at my church in the middle of the state.
What in the world am I to make of all this? I CERTAINLY don’t see a comprehensible picture emerging yet from all of this, and I have to make peace with the truth that I may not see the entire “picture” till I sit with Abba God in Heaven looking at the dot-to-dot page of my lately weird and wild life. What I CAN make of this is that God DOES love me, doesn’t despise my insecurities and anxieties, somehow amazingly sees potential in me to “draw”the picture with him as I hopefully let him lead me from dot-to-dot into his blessings, even when part of my heart still hurting and healing from some traumatic turns in my life. Abba Father, help me look into your kind, caring, loving, patient, all-seeing (omnipresent) and all-knowing (omniscient) and I pray by faith all-powerful (omnipotent) eyes to trust my small not-omnipotent hand, heart, life and future into your hands. You hold one huge pencil. I’m grateful your pencil has a huge eraser, and I make mistake in connecting dots, you’ll forgivingly, grace-filled-ly erase my goof and help me connect to the next, right dot in your plan for me.
That’s called love, and the little girl in me desperately needs to know your love will never,never fail or forsake me. You keep your promises!
7You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble;
You surround me with songs of deliverance.
8I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
9Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
Otherwise they will not come near to you.
10Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him.
11Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones;
And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart. Psalm 32: 7-11 NASB
And in reflecting on Psalm 32,connecting the dots of these verses: ‘Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.’ –PSALM 32: 1, 2. This psalm, which has given healing to many a wounded conscience, comes from the depths of a conscience which itself has been wounded and healed. One must be very dull of hearing not to feel how it throbs with emotion, and is, in fact, a gush of rapture from a heart experiencing in its freshness the new joy …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
16″Come near to Me, listen to this: From the first I have not spoken in secret, From the time it took place, I was there. And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit.” 17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48: 16-17 NASB
And dot-to-dot commentary: Matthew Henry Commentary
48:16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send…Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance….Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God’s will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ
A “…BUT…” to pray: God Almighty, Father, I can’e see thread ahead of me, I’m not sure of the direction you want to take, BUT you p;promise to teach and instruct me in the way i should go and guide me with your eyes upon,so I say out of my heart _________________________________________________________ Holy Spirit, I’m listening, and Father, I’m watching for your hand of leading, in Jesus’ name,amen!