I grew up in a time when Dot-to-Dot Coloring Books were popular. This was one of the ways I learned all the letters of the alphabet and how to count up to 25 and 50. As long as I connected A to B to C or 1 to 2 to 3 and so on in the correct order, I discovered what animal, person, place, or thing was hiding in between the dots. Unfortunately, life as an adult is much more complicated as I regularly find myself waiting for God to fill in the blanks before I make my next move.
And Abram said, Lord God, what can You give me, since I am going on [from this world] childless and he who shall be the owner and heir of my house is this [steward] Eliezer of Damascus? – Genesis 15:2
As Abram began to grow up, the thought of having any children at his age allowed doubt to creep into his mind. Abram’s hopes and dreams of seeing God’s promise fulfilled, Genesis 12:1-3, that he would become a father of a great nation seemed impossible. This is the context of the passage above as Abram became impatient while God was working behind the scenes to fill in the blanks of his future. Perhaps, Abram’s crisis of faith is similar to a modern-day mid-life crisis, disappointed by how things turned out.
He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]? Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend]. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep. 18 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, when you were young you girded yourself [put on your own belt or girdle] and you walked about wherever you pleased to go. But when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go. 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me! – John 21:17-19
Peter experienced these emotions in the passage above. John details Jesus’ first conversation with Peter following his denial and crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Perhaps, Peter’s initial idea that Jesus would become an earthly king, someone he was willing to fight for, deflated him. After a period of reconciliation, Jesus begins to fill in the blanks of Peter’s future, dying on an inverted cross as he didn’t feel worthy of being crucified like Jesus. Wherever you are in life, be still before the Lord, Psalm 46:10, as God fills in the blanks, prepared in advance for your future, Philippians 1:6.
by Jay Mankus