Puzzle it out

I can solve a Rubik’s cube in about a minute and a half. This is nowhere near any kind of record, but it’s a neat party trick. People that see me do it tend to consider it to be some kind of magical power, and they are invariably impressed by the intellect required; they treat it with an almost mystical reverence.

The thing is: it’s not a big deal at all. It doesn’t require a genius IQ, or any special magical powers. When I was in high-school, I just decided that I wanted to learn how to do it, and broke it down into components. The first two layers I puzzled out over the course of a long weekend in a cabin in the woods. The rest (the hardest part is finishing the last row) I sorted out move by move over the course of several weeks. It’s one of those things that looks much harder than it really is. I’m a mechanically inclined person that’s intrigued by puzzles, and I’m a pretty clever guy, but this is not something that is outside the capabilities of an average person on the street. I just did it, and they haven’t yet.

The revered Renaissance sculptor and painter Michelangelo is credited as having once said “If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn’t call it genius.” Sometimes I have to remind myself of that on my walk with God. I speak with people who are further along their path, and I see how easy it sometimes looks for them. They can recall scriptures at will. They can relate lessons from the Word to practical life lessons without the use of Google, or even without the use of the Bible itself. I have to remind myself that even though it doesn’t come as easily to me, there is nothing mystical about these abilities. What I’m seeing may look like genius, but in reality it’s nothing but behind-the-scenes hard work. These people can recall scriptures because they’ve been reading their Bible longer and with more dedication than I have. They can relate lessons of the Word to this world because they’ve lived those lessons, and I am still growing into them.

If someone were to read this blog, they would quickly discover my affinity for Paul’s first epistle to Corinth. This verse comes from there: “For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:8). What I have now is the Spirit, and what I seek with all my heart is the wisdom of God. What I need to do, though, is simple: I need to put in the work.

I have three books lined up for the coming weeks. One, “Desiring God” by John Piper, was given to me as a gift from my dear friend Brendon. It’s a treatise on understanding our relationship with God through the lens of Christian hedonism. The second, “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time” by Marcus Borg, I first read about twenty years ago, and was a gift from a Pastor I respected greatly. It’s time to revisit it. The third, “3 Circles” was a recent gift from my friend Pastor Mark, and I’m looking forward to internalizing the concepts therein.

It’s time to get to work.


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