NIV + The Message + Blue Letter

Steve Jobs gave the commencement address for Stanford University in 2005. In it he said,

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. Steve Jobs

That makes a lot of sense; especially when it comes to testing. I’ve had a lot of discussions about if God is testing us, or Satan is tempting us. The truth is, we don’t know; especially when we look forward. Someday, we’ll be able to make sense of it all and see how the dots connected; but even that might not happen in this life time.

Honestly, I don’t know if there is a difference between a test and a temptation. I’ve never been able looking back or looking forward to tell if one came from God or Satan. A lot of time can be spent wondering about that, especially with a verse like

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,

    but the Lord tests the heart.

In the end, that discussion isn’t really profitable. Although, Paulo Coelho proposes a neat theory in The Alchemist.

It doesn’t matter if its a test or a temptation; the goal is the same — to win. If it’s a test, I want to pass it. If it’s a temptation I want to defeat it. Either way, I’m coming out the other side better for the experience.

Look Back Where have you gone through something tough (a test or a temptation) and even though it hurt and was difficult it shaped who you are today for the better?

We look back because if it’s happened before it can happen again, and maybe it’s happening right now. If you’ve never experience that ask around; maybe your close friend has and I’m sure she would love to share her story.

Look Down Is there something else going on right now (a test or temptation) that could be refining you?

Jim Collins addresses this in Good to Great when he writes about James Stockdale (Chapter 4, “The Stockdale Paradox” section (pp. 83-87)

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Every so often (usually 10-14 days) I ⏪Look Back and when I do, I share it. If you want to know what I saw, sign up for my email. (the first one goes out the Friday after Easter).

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