“I feel like I was made to understand and not to be understood.”
Those words pierced me. Simple words uttered by someone as we talked about the hard reality of facing life post-college.
This is a blog for those who feel like me. Those that feel you were only meant to understand, but not to be understood.
Ever feel like that?
I CAN relate with her on so many levels. Sometimes I just don’t feel I’ll ever be understood.
Fall has made quite the entrance up here in the PNW, I am bringing out more thick scarfs and putting away my summer shorts. Mist and fog fills the window panes. Coffee. Blankets. Leaves falling from such great heights. Summer is over. And with that is some odd mixture of the dying and yet the celebrating. Pumpkins, Apples, the best smelling candles. The harvest has happened.
I sometimes don’t really know what season I’m in. I don’t know if I should be celebrating or mourning. So many days I question God. I ask him why I have these passions and gifts that I feel are tucked in the back of the closet like DIY biology kits growing Kombucha.
Alive in the dark. Growing. Festering. Living. Thriving. Changing. I’m afraid that by the time my plans reach the light of day they will be moldy and frumpy. Only good for the garbage and Vegan restaurants.
I get frustrated too, really frustrated. I realize that I am only seeing a tiny piece of the puzzle of my life and I know that a bumper sticker told me God has a plan but that didn’t really seem to feel true no matter how much I think it to be true.
And sometimes… sometimes I wonder if I will ever reach my dreams and desires I have, if any of my passions and interests will ever be put to use in my everyday life.
I get even more upset when I wish I could be stronger through all of this. I cannot FATHOM a time that God has failed me. There have been hard times, tough seasons, and sad memories but on the other side of it I can always see the semblance of this beautiful plan. This meticulous reasoning. I have nothing to complain about. I mean yes, I would love to be back in Asia right now serving the Lord with my team, but there is so much good going on in life here too.
I didn’t sign up for this. I planned to be eating noodles and riding a scooter at this point in my life. My plans didn’t go according to my way. And I struggle with that!
I can see God has a plan. I preach it. I know it down with all my heart. So where is this battle of discontentment and frustration stemming from? I have been pondering this for months now. But yesterday I feel like a lightbulb went off in my head when Jake began to share with me what he is learning.
That’s when I realized what the problem is.
We need to start believing in a God who can play Chess.
I know that may seem like a terrible solution to eliminating all of this fear and anxiety in life but let me put some context to this.
Whether you are talking to someone who just achieved a Masters of Divinity, is new to religion, or is one of those millennial hipster Christians who feels enlightened because they read something from Bonhoeffer one time. Everyone has to have a theology of “The Plan of God.”
Not believing in a plan is believing in theology about a plan.
It’s not about whether or not God has a plan for you in (fill in your blank) or whether He doesn’t. It’s whether you have the faith that he does.
There is a number known as Shannon’s number which estimates the possible combinations of Chess games. For years mathematicians have done gross estimates of how many games of Chess are possible. With our advanced technology that plays 4K Video Games, Chess has lost a little bit of magic.
Shannon’s number estimates that there are 10 to the power of 120 possible games of Chess. There are an estimated 4×10^80 observable atoms in the universe.
Think about the insanity that on a little chessboard may be more possible games than the atoms in the entirety of our known universe.
The conversation around counting Chess combinations has often revolved around how long it would take a computer to calculate every possible game.
It lies somewhere between never and the inevitable heat death of the universe.
God has managed to calculate every combination of universe. EVER.
Do you really think if a Chess Board has that many combinations, and you were watching God play a game of Chess that you could predict at any given point the best possible move?
Would you play differently if you could see 15 moves ahead than if you could only see a couple moves ahead?
Eventually with enough foresight you’d get to the point where making a move that may seem stupid is in fact setting up another piece to win later. Imagine, if you could think 50 moves ahead in Chess? Imagine even more that you knew the move your opponent would make.
If this is just the possibility of a Chess Board and the bible is true, we are presented with the immensity of what we live in.
Why is that important?
It is easy in a world of Netflix and stagnant drama’s to start imagining life as a very linear experience. Usually with us as the attractive main character who is going to, by golly, change the world!
As I said earlier, It’s not about whether or not God has a plan for you in this or that.
Do you have the faith that He does?
We make the mistake of thinking our role is to know and guess His plan. When it instead is to press into what He is doing.
It’s not about knowing His plan. It’s about living it.
On earth there are 7.125 Billion people. Each couple has the capability to produce 1.6×10^12041 possible genetic combination even if doing a conservative counting of genetic combinations.
They walk around a terrestrial sphere, hurtling through the pitch of space. Interacting, walking, talking.
Humans look for signs. For connections. We try to string together the most probable path while excluding things that seem improbable,
“Going to work today. Not expected to get hit by car.”
And these create expectations. There are two types of dreams. Those founded in hope and those founded in expectation. Hope does not disappoint because hope is steadfast. It is the firm belief that things, albeit confusing and random, swing hard to a reality of purpose instead of random chance.
We have this hope because Psalm 139 says God crafted us in the womb. The bible speaks at length about plans and hopes and ultimately lands in Romans where we learn ALL things work together for the good of those who love God. (Notice that’s a big qualifier on the end that many people skip. Those who don’t know God do not have everything working toward good.)
We have a God that understands what we will do in any situation. He knew us intimately before weaving our existence and knowing the days we had ahead of us. God knows the hairs on our heads. He knows our genetic makeup. He knows the skin cells on your nose. The amount of crystals in your eyes.
You weren’t created to be understood.
You were understood to be created.
And He made a plan that factors that in. That with an oddly beautiful combination of love and justice is able to show you the beauty and joy of life while still being a fair and equitable universe. A plan that knows you like whittling and paddle boarding. A plan that knows you think the Beatles are overrated. A plan that even includes the 37th possible name of your daughter you will one day have but rejected because it was just taken by an acquaintance on the Instagram.
Is it really all that different from riding a roller coaster, where fear assaults you and yet in the height of thrill you are most likely safe? You live knowing the possibility and yet strapped in safely. It is not the reality of danger, but the mere idea, that robs you of utmost joy.
After all God gave you your hopes. When they aren’t coming true, shouldn’t that say something powerful about God and His masterful plan? Shouldn’t it beg and beckon to us, “How God are you going to pull this off?”
If you trust Him, that question elicits excitement. If you don’t trust Him. Fear.
I believe in a God who can calculate much more than a game of Chess. This means realizing my inaccuracies when I attempt to read the unseen rhythms of the universe.
While a computer may never be able to even compute the amount of possible games of Chess. God has calculated the path of stars, the fall of die rolls, the job you get, the DNA you sequence. Even a person who sees God as highly reactive instead of possessing foreknowledge is facing an unimaginable God who calculates all possible knowledge in existence at any given point and makes a guess accordingly to create the best possible path.
And this probably will look nothing like the life YOU plan.
That’s ok. Most of the scripture we banter about doesn’t really even tackle the idea of guessing God’s plan.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
I think most of us read that and think, “He’ll show you what path to pick. Or confirm the one you like.”
Naw. The bible says God will straighten our path the more we lean into Him. The more we remove sin, we have a good attitude when things are hard, the way we make Faith based decisions out of pure belief that God is in them.
Even with that assurance, we may never see the reason behind things on Earth. This is the ultimate test of Faith. Trusting God with not only the unknown, but that someday it will make sense, and it will. We just have to wait until eternity before God shows us the Chess Board.
That is our Hope. That through intimately creating us and knowing us, God crafted a plan which cares about who we are, what we are doing, and ultimately is for our good. The hard part is sometimes, it may seem like a stupid move is being made when in fact a masterful use of the future is being put into place. That, faith in the master, is of course the most reassuring and beautiful foundation of trust. Believing and hoping that God wants good. Instead of trying to drive from the backseat, letting God steer.
It means dropping the sin.
Calling the person you hurt.
Worrying less. Living more. And appreciating always.
Because God knows what He is doing. We must merely let Him do it.