Patterns: Experiencing God

“Day to day pours out speech,

and night to night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech, nor are there words,

whose voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:2-3

It doesn’t matter what story you read, movie you watch, or play you enjoy but each time you experience these things you will always be following a repeatable and necessary pattern in order to enjoy it. This is true even if the story is an epic that stretches over a longer period of time. The pattern of story telling begins with an introduction where we learn the setting and meet the characters. As we delve deeper into the story we begin to learn who the good guys are (protagonists) and who the bad guys are (antagonist). We begin to develop loyalties, likes, and dislikes. Next we see a problem or a crisis arise, and naturally, the problem needs solving, which is done by the protagonist. But not without concerted effort on the antagonist’s part to defeat her rival. But, at last, we have a resolution. It doesn’t matter where you look, this will be the general pattern that most satisfies the reader. If a part is left out, it becomes confusing. If the beginning is not told we may become confused. If the problem is unsolved then we become frustrated. The pattern completes the circle. The pattern makes sense to us.

We see patterns elsewhere in life. The most notable ones might include days which are followed by nights, or the seasons that occur as the Earth rotates and moves around the sun: always has and always will. These patterns are repeatable and predictable day in and day out, year in and year out. They are patterns that you can be comfortable with. The day will always take 24 hours because this is how long it takes the Earth to make its rotation. And a year will always take 365 days because this is how long it takes to move around the sun. Scientists tell us that since the beginning, time has increased and sped up, but we’ll reserve that logical discussion of time for another day, metaphorically speaking, of course. Suffice it to say that we live and exist in a constant, but repeatable pattern.

There are, of course, many other patterns that we live and experience. It may be the rolling of waves over the ocean, or the weather that moves across the surface of the earth each moment of each day. It could also be the pattern of human development that is so pIMG_0105redictable. It starts with conception of an embryo, the beginning of human life, but then that embryo develops into a fetus and gains a beating heart, fingers and toes form, we learn the sex in the womb. This young creation is now an unborn baby. We can learn from an unborn baby its many and remarkable characteristics. Next this young life is born and it becomes a new born infant, then a toddler, then a child, then a preadolescent, a teenager, then a young adult, then an adult, then a middle aged adult, then a elderly adult, and nearing the end of its life cycle the person becomes a senior adult. That pattern will end predictably in the death of this human body whose physicality then returns to dust, just as the Scriptures tells us. The soul then follows a new pattern unseen by mankind.

What are patterns and why are they evidences of a kind and merciful God. Patterns exist within the time continuum and allow us as finite people to do things like process, learn, grow at healthy rates, increase in wisdom, and heal. Time can often be thought of as a liability slowing us down, but it is actually a gift of God. Our great and infinite God, of course, exists outside of time, but He loves us and provides us with time. Time allows us to hope and it keeps our limited understanding from going off the rails. Finitude doesn’t allow us to understand the totality of time and its effects. This reality helps us learn and need dependence upon God. Timelessness is reserved for a good and eternal God. Limits protect His creation from thinking too highly of themselves. It what helps draw us to this amazing God.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

his mercies never come to an end;

they are new ever morning;

great is your faithfulness.”

Patterns protect us. Patterns comfort us. Patterns provide consistent care and love from God.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What patterns have you seen in your life that can cause you to think about and worship God?
  2. Why do you think that God gave us time? How is it helpful for our lives?
  3. What patterns in the world resonate with you the most? Which are more challenging for you to grasp and accept?
  4. Read Psalm 19 and thank God for the patterns that point us to Him. Worship Him for what he reveals to us as His children

Prayer:

“Father, I know that I am finite and can only understand so much in this remarkable complicated world, but I do thank you for revealing parts of yourself in things like patterns. It reminds me of your faithfulness to keep all of your promises and your mercies that are new every morning. Help me when I get caught up in the weeds of life to consider your greatness and majesty and the patterns you display to show your creative genius and your majestic power. When I fail to have faith, will you give me faith to comprehend on some level your persistent and never ending love for me? Thank You for You! Thank you for Jesus. In His name, amen”

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