Searching for a topic in Google’s modest, but oh so mighty search window never fails to amuse me. I need only type a couple of letters and lickety-split, it has leapt to attention and begun its enthusiastic guessing game, trying to anticipate what in this big old world I might be wondering about.
Case in point:
My query began: “Plants in”, and before I could finish the word “in”, there were four options for me:
Plants in ….the desert
Plants in…the rainforest
Plants vs. Zombies
Plants in… the tundra
Say what? Now, if you read those slowly, go back and read them again as fast as you possibly can, and please tap into your former “I’m 13 and I’m going to my first dance, I just ate a king-sized bag of Skittles, and I am SOOO excited” self. Because, I’m pretty sure that’s what Google sounds like as it serves up answers with ridiculous rapidity.
I understand that Google responds to my queries based on most popular searches, I do, but how funny is that response? Plants in desert, rainforest, tundra….. Plants vs. Zombies? How the heck did that rank third? And what is Plants vs Zombies? About the time I was tempted to ditch my search for “Plants in sandy soil” to pursue that craziness, I had a small epiphany.
I realized that Google and I aren’t so different when it comes to generating responses. I frequently go into hyper-drive when trying to ascertain and assess the mind and hand of God in my life. When some new experience, opportunity, hardship, or easing of said hardship confronts me (or those I love), I begin an immediate assessment of it, seeking to determine, “Is this good” or “Is this bad”?
Now, by good or bad, I do not mean right or wrong. No, in this case I mean something more along the lines of, “Is this event or circumstance immediately and enduringly pleasant or immediately and enduringly painful?” I shoot out predictions of whether to brand something “This is GREAT!” or “This is AWFUL!” , just about as fast as Google plays its guessing game.
I need to, I WANT to, cool my jets when assessing incoming experiences. Be they personal and private, or right out there in public for all to see, any given moment or season in life comes with both blessing and challenge and is embedded in a context much more complex than I can imagine. My pursuit of immediate, accurate evaluations is about as silly as Google assuming I want to research Plants vs. Zombies before I’ve even finished typing half my inquiry.
As one whose lifespan will cap out under a century, I need to remember that we deal with a God of infinite proportions, who doesn’t measure time in weeks and months or miles and light years, but in eons and …well, whatever is bigger than light years. I can’t possibly predict the specific ways God will bring peace, justice and restoration on a personal or global scale today, tomorrow, or in two millennium. But, based on Scripture and what I see of all that is good in this world, I am convinced they will be mercy-soaked.
And as I read Scripture, I hear again and again that though we be small and limited in scope of understanding, we are not inconsequential. He repeatedly proclaims His unending, irrational love for us. And as I choose to trust that love, I can let go of my exhausting attempts to pass definitive, certain judgment on the outcome of any given dream, or death of a dream, satisfaction or frustration, victory or defeat, and trust the One who understands how to put a colossal universe together with phenomenally infinite detail, who grants us free will, and bought our forgiveness at great personal cost.
If “love is patient”, I can be too.
Sept. 18, 2013