Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford University commencement address is one of the most inspiring speeches I have ever read and heard.
This talk is full of inspiration from someone who succeeded and who failed. And who was not ashamed to talk about both of those experiences. That's the kind of wisdom I want to encounter. Jobs' willingness to admit he was heartbroken, but not fully broken, by his ouster from the firm he helped create gave him credibility when he spoke to why we must push through the hard times and turn those hard times into new opportunity.
Jobs' statement that we cannot connect the dots of our lives looking forward, but can only make those connections in hindsight sounds very much like this to me: "For we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
Yes, it's OK to follow God ordained dreams because what God wants for us is very much in tune with the person He created us to be. How often do we hold back because we let other people tell us we're not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, or not connected enough to have what's good and what brings us joy? Looking back, how often have we regretted following those thoughts instead of following the best God had for us?
No, we cannot connect the dots going forward. But we can connect our faith to what's happening today and know that as we follow and obey God, those dots of a faith-filled life will be beautifully and perfectly arranged by the One Who Knows And Loves Us Best.
I don't know anything about Steve Jobs' spiritual beliefs beyond a news report that he once studied Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist, nor am I encouraging anyone to become a Buddhist. I encourage people to become Christians because I believe it is the only way to find God and live the life we were created to live. Still, I think there is a lot of wisdom in what Jobs said about having a determined optimism, seeking new opportunity in all situations, and not allowing circumstances to steal the joy of being alive, of being creative, and of sharing who we are with the world. His words and actions created a worthy legacy.
We cannot connect the dots ahead of time. That's why we are called to live by faith. We are also assured that there is One Who Connects All Parts of our lives, and that we can trust His love and His care for us and for the world.