In her book Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Jean Latham inserts the following dialogue, referring to Nat Bowditch’s mental restlessness:
Dr. Prince smiled at the youngster. “Elizabeth, maybe you can figure this out for me. Why do you think Nat reads Latin?”
Elizabeth rolled her eyes gravely from one to the other. “It’s his brain, don’t you think? I mean—it’s awfully restless. He probably reads Latin to keep it quiet. The way girls stitch samplers, you know.”
We all have our “restlessnesses.” Some of us like to keep our hands occupied, and others their brains occupied. Some of us get “fidgety” if nothing exciting seems to be happening, and others get restless feelings if we don’t have time to pause and think about things. God has made us in such a variety! Some of my peculiar “fidgets” have to do with numbers. I like having numbers to work with—not advanced mathematics, mind you, just simple arithmetic—adding up columns, number games, comparing numbers, and so on. Sometimes it is useful, such as in keeping track of our family’s finances, or figuring out how much someone owes on a combined food order. Other times it is a problem—I’m inclined to try to figure out my way mathematically through life’s problems when I need to grow in faith, or I get absorbed in numbers when someone wants to talk to me, etc.
I have found that God knows when to satisfy my “number-hunger” and when to “starve” it. There are times when thinking on the “other side” of the brain (to make reference to a popular modern concept of how our minds work) is needful. For instance, I like to write poems for birthdays within my immediate family. It’s not that I’m a great poet, but I find some blessing in expressing in poetic form some of what I see going on in my loved one’s life. Now I’ve found that my mind needs to shift into a certain “gear,” if you will, to be able to write even simple poetry, and it is definitely a different gear than the one I do my number-crunching work in! It can take a pretty extreme effort to get out of the one gear, and getting into the “poetry” gear is no small matter, either. Many times the Lord has responded to my earnest prayer and helped that transition to occur “just in time.”
This week, in working on this issue, I’ve faced some peculiar challenges. Parts of the editing work suit my number-oriented mind, and parts are suited to an entirely different gear. But I found myself with a peculiar trial in examining and ordering what the Lord has been supplying for this issue. It’s not easy to describe, but maybe I could put it this way: With my number-orientation goes a certain sense of order and pattern, so that perhaps you could say that I have a certain order and pattern that I instinctively look for in doing the rough layout of the issue. At first I thought something was wrong with content, but as I prayed, I discovered (God having mercy on me) that what really was the matter was that God and I disagreed about what sorts of things we wanted in this issue. Sigh. So the servant had to humble down and acknowledge God knows best.
I share this in the hopes that if any of you find yourself unsatisfied with either this issue or some other means in which God may be dealing with you in your life, you will be encouraged to pray with a consecration to doing things God’s way that will help you to get a hold of whatever the Lord wants to deal with you about. God’s ways truly are higher than our ways, and sometimes it fits with our favorite ways of learning and sometimes it doesn’t.
Love and prayers,