I don’t know about you, but often in life I feel like I’m going one step forwards and then 3 steps back.
As soon as I think I’m finally beginning to make progress, any of that progress seems to be quickly undone. Then I find that I’m further away from our dreams or goals than when we first started.
It can be extremely frustrating or disheartening. Coming so close to a breakthrough only to see it slip away from your grasp.
We all want to be growing from year to year and making progress. We can’t stay where we were. However, sometimes we seem to be getting worse in what we’re able to achieve.
During those times, it’s easy to begin to lose your trust in God. What exactly is He doing and how is He working out His plan in your life?
It’s hard to see where He’s going or where He’s taking you. Will you ever reach your intended destination, or are you going to keep wandering in circles?
If that’s you, then read on below.
Solving the Rubik’s Cube
Have you ever done the Rubik’s Cube before? It’s a vivid and powerful example of how God can seem to take us forward only to bring us backwards.
In its classic form, the puzzle is a 3x3x3 cube made up of six different colours: white, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. After the colours have been jumbled up, the aim of the puzzle is to reorganise the cube so that each side is a single colour again.
Many people find it difficult, but there are plenty of solutions online to help you get started. It amazes me how some people can solve it in less than 30 seconds. I usually take a few minutes to do it because I don’t practise it nearly enough.
When solving the cube, sometimes in order to put everything into order in the end, you have to temporarily move things out of order. Sometimes, when it seems as if you’ve nearly arrived at all six sides, suddenly you move things around that seem to be getting further away from the end result. Why not just proceed on the path you’re already going instead of shuffling things around like that?
But there is a method to the madness if you know how to do the puzzle.
To someone with no idea where you’re going, it can look like you’re manoeuvring the pieces out of order even when you’re seemingly close to finishing. It could seem as if you’re moving contrary to the intended outcome.
However, for someone who knows how to do the cube, you have the spatial intelligence to see where everything is supposed to fit. You know how the algorithm is supposed to work.
This means you can see ahead of time where things need to go, and where you need to move them to reach your end goal. You trust the process that you will complete all six sides, because you can see the end result and what you need to achieve that, even if it means moving pieces out of place along the way.
How can solving the Rubik’s cube help grow your faith in God?
I often find that when I’m doing the rather mundane things in life that God speaks to me through those. He communicates certain truths and insights which help me understand him better.
The Rubik’s Cube can give us an insight into the way God can work in our lives too.
Like the solving the Rubik’s Cube, when it comes to life, we don’t have that overall omniscient knowledge that God possesses.
We can question why, when we seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough, God suddenly seems to take us several steps backwards. Couldn’t we have simply proceeded along the same path? After all, the end seemed to be right there in sight.
Isaiah 55:8-9 says:
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
When God moves things out of place in our lives temporarily, we can’t always appreciate that he has a plan for us and that it may be leading eventually to greater order for us. His ways are higher than our ways. We can’t always comprehend what He’s doing.
Hollywood actress Janine Turner was previously engaged to actor Alec Baldwin. She had small parts in various movies or TV shows such as Cliffhanger, Northern Exposure, or Friday Night Lights. In the 1990s, when she was in her late twenties, opportunities began to dry up within the film industry. For various reasons, she faced one rejection after another.
This sent her into a deep depression. She began drinking to dull the pain and cope with this barren period of her life.
Eventually however, in her darkest hour, she turned to God. She came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Turner shared the following in her testimony:
“When I look back at all the journeys that I’ve been through in my life, I realize that so often I just saw the threads and I could just see this and I never saw the blanket. God sees the whole tapestry. God sees eternity in perspective. God sees my whole life in perspective.”
In a similar way to the Rubik’s Cube, God sees everything in perspective. Turner couldn’t see how God was moving in her life and using different situations to draw her to Him. It was only once she arrived at her eventual destination that she could look back retrospectively and see God’s hand in it all.
Romans 8:28 tells us that:
28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”
We can’t always see the bigger picture from our own limited perspective. It’s true it may not offer much comfort in our time of grief, and I would be the last one to make light of such a situation. But we need to trust that God sees things that we cannot see.
The Rubik’s Cube can serve as a powerful reminder of how God works in our lives. Whenever we begin to feel discouraged or disheartened that God isn’t working as quickly as you’d hoped, we can remember how He sees everything. He knows where we’re meant to be and what He needs to do to get us there.
Can you solve the Rubik’s Cube or can you only do one side or one or two layers?
Have you ever found yourself going backwards when you thought you were moving forwards? How did you continue to trust in God during those times?
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Robert is the founder of Drawing on the Word. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Theology and a Master’s degree in Systematic Theology. He also has a degree in Law and was called to the Bar. Robert previously taught religious studies and was a theology lecturer. He is an artist, musician and writer, and has created a graphic novel version of Luke’s gospel. You can follow him below.