Connecting the Dots

“Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

~ Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Address (2005)

dots In November of 2011, I went to TEDx Phnom Penh, an independently sponsored TED in Cambodia. One of the speakers had a session on Connecting the Dots. In the session, we were given paper and instructed to draw on it. It got me thinking about my dots.

What are my dots, and how do they connect? I’m spending most of a year in Cambodia, and I’ve been able to see some dots connect to each other that I really couldn’t have planned out. It’s good to plan, but I can say from experience that plans often don’t go according to plan. Yet, some wonderful connections are made without planning. It’s rather amazing.

Steve Jobs twice mentions the word ‘trust’ in the quote above. “You have to trust in something.” As Christians, we have a very clear answer to Who we should trust. Do we always trust? Do we always live our lives as if we trust?

The words I really like here are, “You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” I am currently planning my next vocation. I would like to know exactly what I am going to do. I am praying about it. Yet, God may very well just tell me to trust Him with each step. Not only do I not know where all the dots will connect, I don’t even know what some of my dots are. Yet, I have to trust the dots will somehow connect in the future. For a Christian, it’s walking in faith with a trust in God.

More than that, it’s learning to trust that God is Lord of the Dots. It’s less important how or when they connect, but that I trust the God who made the dots and who made me. That faith is what makes the difference. Faith, not formulas.