“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things
that you have not known.” ~ESV
Sometimes we pray, and then pray some more, and some more, and we wait to hear God’s voice. Maybe we want help in making a major life decision like a move, or a job, or a relationship. Maybe we need peace and comfort in a challenging time. We make deals with God. “God, if you just answer this one prayer then I will make sure I give you the praise and I’ll never ask you for anything again.” And after all the praying and bargaining, sometimes there is still silence. I’m sure you have heard some people say that God spoke to them, God told them, God came to them and said…and I believe that God can and will speak to people. Some say it’s an audible voice or it comes in dreams or just pops into their mind as a sudden thought or drop of wisdom. I’m sure it could be all of those. More often than not, I feel silence rather than reciprocated conversation. I feel distance instead of direction.
If this is how you feel too, don’t lose hope. Try to connect the dots instead. Visualize those connect the dot puzzles we did as kids to reveal the picture at the end. In the beginning you couldn’t tell what the final image was going to be, but it always came out just right as long as you followed the dots in the right order. Imagine if instead of numbers next to those dots, all the events of your life so far were found there in those places. Now imagine how the lines would go, and how so many of the events would connect at just the perfect times, even when you thought the timing wasn’t right and it wasn’t at all what you wanted. And finally, what would the final picture include? In the silence, when you feel far from God, connect your dots. I am confident that at some point in your life, the dots will start to make sense.
How many of us have wanted a job so bad, gone through the application and interview process, or never even got an interview, and been really disappointed? And then years later that whole position is dissolved and you say, “Thank you God that I didn’t get what I wanted.” Or that relationship you prayed to God to fix, and you look back now and say, “Thank you God that I didn’t get what I wanted.” As much information and knowledge as we have and have access to, it is still no comparison to what God has planned for our lives.
Recently, I was reminded of one of my dots. I used to ask God for direction on what to do with my love for writing and literature. If you’re reading this, you are one of my dots, helping me to share something that I love to do. God plants talents and abilities and desires in our hearts and sometimes it’s up to us to water them, to connect the dot rather than to wait for the silence to break. It wouldn’t surprise me if God was shaking his head at me and wondering, “How many times do I have to confirm what I already gave you?”
Last week I almost had a panic. I received a tuition bill and I started to question. Did I misunderstand? Am I not going to be able to participate in this program after all? What am I going to do? My mind was multiplying the numbers. I’d never be able to afford this bill and it was only for the fall semester. You see, I felt this way because I am still in disbelief that I am beginning a PhD program with all tuition covered. God already knew that would be one of my dots, but I sure didn’t. I didn’t even know it would be a possibility. I checked in with my advisor, calmed down, and waited to see if the bill was adjusted. It was, I took a deep breath, and I reminded myself to trust God and what He has provided.
Classwork (tons of reading), meetings, trainings, and textbooks are already rolling in before classes start. I have to maintain a really good GPA or I will be dismissed immediately from the program. I will be teaching classes and taking classes and when I start to feel overwhelmed, I won’t let the stress and the busyness overshadow the blessing. I remind myself, “It’s a dot. It’s just the next dot. Draw the line. Finish your puzzle.”