Random Patterns

Part of the fun of a mystery knit along or even a mystery novel is watching seemingly random facts fuse together to become a completed pattern. It’s fun seeing the parts come together and trying to guess what it will become. I especially like the pictures in puzzle magazines that look like a jigsaw puzzle with random pieces marked with dots. For those pieces, you color them in with ink and eventually a picture emerges.

What is not fun is when random events happen in your life and you cannot see the pattern. Where is God in the midst of aggravations, illnesses, losses and frustrations? Why is this happening? What purpose could their possibly be?

When I play Slingo, an electronic form of Bingo, I try to have a plan of attack to reach the goal of that particular board. I follow a pattern. One level I had played over and over again with no success, and I was getting frustrated. The last time I played it there was no way to follow a pattern the way the game was going, and I had already come to the conclusion that I was not going to win this round either. However, out of the seemingly random moves, I completed the round. It was all by chance…or was it?

In life God sometimes uses a series of seemingly random events to get us to a particular place at a particular time in order to be of use to Him. The Bible says, “Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). We must trust that God has a plan for these moments and pray to be of use in these moments. Maybe the problems you are struggling with were meant to bring you to “such a time as this”. What seems random to us is just another piece of the puzzle to God…a piece He is putting into place so that the bigger picture can be revealed.

Doing Your Part

We’ve spent Monday nights in April studying the story of Gideon in the book of Judges. One concept that was discussed was fulfilling your role. Gideon was given a battle plan from God. In order for it to work everyone had to take their place and do their part. Like our physical bodies, if one part doesn’t work right, the rest of the body suffers and doesn’t work at its optimum capability. It has to make up for the missing or damaged part.

At the same time we were doing the Bible study, I have been working for a company online. During my shifts, there are managers who monitor the work. In previous years, I either ignored their presence or got irritated or discouraged when they gave me feedback, especially when it was negative feedback. I took it personally and got frustrated. I wanted to quit.

I also teach online and get frustrated when I give students feedback and they ignore it, or they get defensive. I am only trying to help them improve their writing and their grade. I’m just doing my job. Why aren’t they listening? I tried to make it clear that I was here to help. All they had to do was ask, but they rarely sought help or applied the help I tried to give in feedback.

It hit me that the monitors were also only doing their job and trying to help me improve and do my best so that the job was done correctly. They were there to give me help if I needed it. All I had to do was ask for their input and listen to their feedback and apply it. Why hadn’t I listened?

The Holy Spirit also works to give us feedback. He lets us know whether or not we are doing our job and doing it so that it will be most effective. The problem is we often don’t listen because we don’t want to do the job, or we take the constructive criticism too personally and get our feelings hurt. We each have a job to do for the Kingdom. If we don’t do it, the church has to take up our slack and suffers for it.

What is your job? Are you working to the best of your ability or are you refusing to do the work? Are you an employee of the month or a slacker? Doesn’t God deserve our very best effort? It’s time to find the job you were meant for and become the person you were meant to be…me included.