By: Harper Severance | A few weeks back, I was walking with one of the younger girls in the orphanage. As we were making our way to our destination, we walked past two buildings that were pretty close together, with only a small, neglected pathway wrapping around one of the buildings. She pulled my arm, and said, “Let’s walk through!”
My mind immediately went into fear: the spiders, snakes, rats, stray cats living in there, the weeds reaching to my knees (the girl’s hips), whatever filth that may be covering the ground below the weeds, and the green covering both the walls. I pulled her away and told her it’s not safe back there. She looked at me and said, “Trust in God!” Wow! I wasn’t expecting that, considering I, the missionary, shouldn’t be showing fear, but instead trust. Thankfully, I talked her out of walking into the unknown, without any goal, but it really got me thinking…
Do any of you remember being a kid and enjoying “connect the dots”? Or maybe you have (grand)kids now who like to “connect the dots”? It’s a pen and paper activity, with a picture made solely of dots. The player draws a line connecting dot #1 to dot #2, dot #2 to dot #3, and so on. Once the last number is reached, the lines connecting one dot from the next form a picture, that you drew yourself, using only the guidance of a few dots and numbers. Without those dots, your drawing may turn out better, but more likely far worse, at least thinking on my personal drawing talents.
During quarantine, I have picked up a book of “connect the dots”, but for adults, similar to adult coloring books. This book is made of very intricate drawings, using only dots (not accompanied with outside decoration, as many times seen in the activities for kids), and goes up to number 1,000. The pictures are more realistic, and definitely outside of my drawing skills to create on my own, without the numbers to guide me. Oftentimes, while I am connecting one dot to the next, I tend to doubt myself and really wonder if I am following the numbers correctly. It sure doesn’t seem to make any sense with what I have done already. Nevertheless, I follow my guiding numbers, and by dot #1,000, it’s pretty close to a realistic photo of a giraffe, a horse, a chimp, or another member of the animal family.
I think a “connect the dots” puzzle is a pretty good comparison to the walk of faith. Day by day, we are provided with a multitude of opportunities, decisions, and chances. We’re constantly faced with new obstacles and valleys to overcome, giving us the feeling of doubt or confusion. With strength and encouragement, we continue forward and realize why we went through all that hardship. We aren’t doing the walk of faith by our own understanding or wisdom but through the guiding hand of the artist, who’s placed numbered dots along our journey of faith.
If we are faithful to follow the guidance and connect one dot to the next, at the end of our time, we will have created a beautiful image, one we couldn’t have done without trusting the guidance of the author, our Heavenly Father. We may be in a state of fear, not knowing what’s to come, especially this year. God planned and knows every detail of our journey before our existence. I know it’s easier said than done most times, but we can confidently trust that He’s got everything under His control, despite our fear of the future.
As Jesus was walking on the water, the disciples noticed Him, while Peter wanted to walk to Him. Peter had the faith initially to take that first step out onto the water. As the wind and the waves started picking up, he began to sink- not because his abilities weakened with the strength of nature, but his faith. It was fear of the unknown that he began sinking. He began to doubt in himself, doubt in his strength, doubt in the nature surrounding him, doubt in his faith that he could continue on. That doubt caused Peter to fall off the path a bit, until he saw the arm reaching down to save him and again heard the voice of Jesus, saying “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)
It was a reminder to Peter, and to all of us reading scripture today, that He will be faithful in all things, from start to end. He is right there to save us, to guide us, to help us, to walk with us, when the doubt starts to creep in again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok to doubt. The disciples doubted many times, yet Jesus still did great work through them! We just have to believe in faith that He is who He says He is, and trust in His still small voice to guide us, even in the unknown!