“God also decided ahead of time to choose us through Christ according to his plan, which makes everything work the way he intends.” Ephesians 1:11(God’s Word)
The older I get, the more I realize that the secret to living both an overcoming and a purposeful life is in maintaining a Godly perspective. In that regard it might be said that seeing things from God’s perspective is everything. Having God’s perspective enables us to connect the dots of life in a way that give our lives meaning and purpose.
I’ve found that when I lose sight of God’s hand upon my life and am unable to connect the dots, I begin to founder in unbelief and sink into the depths of doubting God’s faithfulness.
Contrary to what they say – hindsight is not always 20/20. Truth be told, without God’s help, it is sometimes impossible to connect the dots of life. The busyness of life blurs it. Adversity and failures in life obscure it. And even our successes can distort it. And being a victor or a victim and living above our circumstances or under them teeter-totters in the balance.
But when a person can look back and see God’s hand at work, even in the midst of adversity, they can often begin to connect the dots of their life. And that ability to connect the dots gives confidence for both coping with the present and facing the future. Such confidence is based in the fact and reliance upon God’s faithfulness. He is who He says He is, and will do what He said He will do.
In Genesis chapter 26 we are given a glimpse into a tumultuous period of time in the life of Isaac. It chronicles his sojourn immediately after his father Abraham’s death, through famine and exile, blessing and prosperity, rejection and loss, dispute and opposition, into a final breakthrough that opens new horizons for him. It concludes with God’s healing of his past and establishing him as a patriarch in his own right, beyond the shadow and influence of his father. This past Sunday I gave a message drawing lessons from Isaac’s life titled “Connecting the Dots.”
Observations from this slice of Isaac’s life give us insight into how God connects the seemingly unrelated dots in our lives. God’s intent and purpose for Isaac is the same for each of us. He wants us to know that we are children of promise, chosen and named before our birth for His eternal purposes. (Genesis17:19 & Ephesians 1:5 & 11)
He wants us to know that our lives have meaning and significance in His grand plan. (Ephesians 2:10)
Here are several questions to consider that will help give perspective to your life and enable you to connect the dots.
1. Can you think of circumstances surrounding your birth, name and/or childhood that give an early indication of God’s hand upon your life from the very beginning? When I polled the Bridgewood congregation with this question last Sunday 64% indicated “Yes” they could. 20% said they were “Not Sure” and just 16% answered “No.” How would you answer this question?
Isaac was the long-awaited son of promise, given his name which means “laughter” before he was born. He brought great joy to his parents and his life was marked by joy triumphing over sorrow. In many ways he was a little prince, born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His appears to have weathered his near death experience as a teenager at the hand of his father without great trauma to his soul (Genesis 22) and later is the appreciative beneficiary of a beautiful bride through an arranged marriage. (Genesis 24)
For me, like Isaac, I can see God’s hand on my life from conception. My parents wanted to have children, but it was not until seven years into their marriage that my mother finally became pregnant. After my birth, they were never able to conceive again. My sister, three years my junior, was adopted.
Added to that, several days after my birth I had to be re-hospitalized because of a life threatening ailment keeping me from taking nourishment. That scare and my survival was a story my parents often recounted to me as I was growing up.
Our given names are also significant and it is worth taking time to explore their meaning related to our life. They not only give insights into Godly traits to be developed but also can add meaning and direction to our life. My name, Thomas Lee Stuart II has done that for me. Named after my father, Thomas means “seeker after truth.” That trait has marked my life. My life-long search for truth was not fully satisfied until at age 25 I finally met Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and discovered that He is The Truth. (John 14:6) It has also been a prime motivation throughout my Christian life and ministry fueling my passion as a teacher of the Bible.
My middle name “Lee” means meadow or pasture. Little did I know that one day God’s calling would lead me to be a pastor/shepherd and that my life would be spent in God’s pasture with His flock which is the church.
“Stuart” of course means to be a steward and that also has great significance for my life in my calling as a “faithful steward of the mysteries of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1)
Connecting these dots surrounding my birth and name serve to convince me that indeed God had a purpose for my life from the very beginning. They have been foundational in convincing me of God’s faithfulness to guide and support me in my calling.
What about your birth, name and/or childhood? What can you discover about God’s purpose for your life as you seek to connect the dots of your early years? What do each of your names mean? How might they be messages from God about His plans and purpose for your life? You can look their meaning up on any good baby name website. Check several sites to get a well-rounded perspective.
To be continued on the next blog…
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