Not only was I just born with a natural bent toward recognizing patterns and trying to figure out why those patterns existed, but I've had almost fourteen years of intentional training on how to think logically, methodically, recognize patterns, draw conclusions, and predict results. The training of an engineer and my current profession of being a flight controller. So needless to say, that type of thinking, and rationalization factors into every aspect of my life, emotional and spiritual.
I like patterns. Apply certain stimuli, get a reaction. Increase or decrease the amount of that stimuli, the reaction changes proportionally. It's predictable. It's controllable. It's comforting.
But what if a pattern isn't desired? Bad behavior being repeated, or an experiment failing over and over again. It's a pattern, but not a welcome one. The pattern is no longer comforting, but discouraging. Each time the stimuli is applied, a different outcome is hoped for, but the logic remains and the same result takes place. Over and over. And the hope for a different result diminishes. The pattern is slowly accepted. Not welcomed, but reluctantly greeted. An unwanted guest that is tolerated. There are several patterns in my life, and I am sure in yours, that would fit into this category. Some are too close to my heart, so I'll use the one that you are all most familiar with: my health.
I tell someone I am feeling better. The pain has lessened. God is good. The next day, the next week, the pain increases, the joints swell, fever spikes. Really Lord?
The pattern. Over and over.
And the thought creeps in "what kind of game is this?"
The good news is, God doesn't play games. I know that because my merciful God has shown me this through hours of pouring over Scripture and journaling endless pages of prayers and thoughts over many years. He is faithful. He is sovereign. I can and do trust in Him. But the thought still comes. How does one continue to hope when the pattern, when all logic, shows that the outcome will continue to be the same? Up, down, up, down.
Do I hope to be healed? YES. When do I hope to be healed? NOW. No, YESTERDAY. But what if that doesn't happen...can I still hope? Can I still trust? What do I hope in? What do I trust in?
"The Lord is my portion" says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him" - Lamentations 3:24
"And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you." - Psalm 39:7
Hope for what? I get that I am supposed to hope in Him...but for what? (Stay with me...)
"He has transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" - Colossians 1:13-14
"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8
"But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" - Ephesians 2:4-6
"because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" - Romans 10:9
That is the basis for my hope - not that I will have healing now...but one day, in heaven, I will be healed. Completely. Because He died for my sins and my life is with Him.
My logical brain searches for a pattern, something with a known result. My emotions attach themselves to knowledge of that pattern. And I fail constantly to see what is in front of me:
God is bigger than a pattern.
This overarching hope, eternal life with Him, a body healed and perfect, because of Him, is bigger than any pattern I can ever find - it breaks the pattern. It makes the pattern moot, trivial, unmentionable.
When confronted with the unknown, the insecure, the frightening, turn your eyes towards Him, towards the one hope that will never change, never waver, a known that doesn't need a pattern to prove it...yet He uses patterns of His faithfulness in Scripture to show us the hope we have in Him.
I was looking for the wrong pattern.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are in you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God" - Psalm 43:5.