Friday, December 13, 2013

Flow Charts and Prayer

December is a very, very busy time of year.  I work in the transportation and logistics industry and it goes crazy around Christmas.  There is a lot going on, and frequently we cannot entirely predict how it will go.  As a natural planner, this drives me nuts.  Some things, like my planning numbers, should never change!

This problem at work is rather minor compared to the rest of life.  Crazy things happen there all the time - life is not tidy.  My dad had a partial hip replacement last week.  He's fine, but there were some unexpected problems once they got in there and the surgery took longer than planned.  He's spending more time away from home than planned.  I'm quite certain none of that was on his list of things to do this month.  Unexpected and not tidy!  Tomorrow I hope to go visit him, but don't even know if I can travel due to a very rude ice and snow storm.  Unexpected and not tidy!

I see on Facebook the unexpected and untidy all the time.  There's a family dealing with a crisis.  Nobody plans a crisis.  There's a mom posting about her sick toddler with the fever.  I can't imagine that's very tidy.  One of my friends keeps liking statuses from a man regarding his horrific cancer treatment.  It doesn't seem he was anticipating that showing up right now.

When things like these happen, I really want a flow chart.  This should come as no surprise to those who know me or just read my blog title.  I want a plan.  I want a list.  I want action items.  I want to know what I need to do and in what order to prepare for the well-defined thing that comes next.  I want it to be neat and tidy and planned and expected and explainable and organized.  In my head, I want it to be predictable.

In my class this semester, my instructor discussed the idea that the Bible does not give us a map - it only gives us a compass.  We need prayer to know where to go.  Talking to the God who created this all and can see the whole picture (predictable from His vantage) is the only way to make sense of it all.  And when I pray, I remember that life isn't tidy.  It isn't meant to be.  Jesus' life certainly was not tidy, or predicable.

God promises to guide us, but we must go to Him in prayer.  Jesus prayed frequently and at length.  We may not get a flowchart out of the deal, but the next step will always be clearer and easier to take than without the light of the Lord.  Let us go to Him in prayer!
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. -Ps 119:105
Let us also remember that God had something to do with the path we are traveling.  The God who created the Universe certainly has the power to guide us in the future, but what has happened before in our lives can serve to help us in our current trials.  The path behind us may have helped us to prepare for the path ahead.


  1. This is my first visit to your blog, which I found on New Evangelists Monthly. Your essay is both profound and amusing, but mostly profound. When you mentioned you are an engineer, the flow chart idea made sense. I'm not an engineer, but I find such charts helpful, like when I need to diagnose symptoms of an illness. How true the Lord doesn't seem to have that engineering mentality. But we can still trust in Him with all our heart.

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, I often wish the Bible included some flow charts. I think everything that happens must make perfect sense, from God's perspective. With my limited one though I would like some arrows to follow!