Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Cold Shower Chaos


Last year I was continually frustrated from having to take cold showers. Sometimes it would be fine, other times it would be cold. When the management company sent someone to test the hot water heater, he checked the temperature while running the water for 10 minutes and said it was fine. I knew it was not fine, although I did not know what was wrong.
Like a true scientific thinker, I developed a method of systematic observation in order to develop a theory of what was wrong. For a couple of weeks, my roommate and I logged the day and time of each shower, as well as a rating of the warmth of the water. I just knew there had to be some pattern or order that I (as well as the plumber) was missing. 
I am not the only one who seeks to make order out of the world, this ability seems to be an important part of being human. Paul’s encouragement in the first chapter of his second letter to the Thessalonians brings about thoughts of this utopian world of justice where good is rewarded and doing wrong brings punishment. It seems simple and right.
Unfortunately, my experience in the world, like the heating of my water heater, does not seem to be so simple. Sometimes I see the wrong, but not the punishment, sometimes the I see punishment, but not the wrong. I also see the good without seeing the reward, or the reward without the good. From such a convoluted picture, it is not hard to fathom that some would interpret all of this as chaos.
However, the perception of order depends on the capacity of the mind to perceive order. Although the plumber did not see order in the hot water heater problem, scrutinizing the results of our systematic observation revealed that if it had been more than 12 hours between someone using the shower, the water would be cold when the next person used it. 
In a world that seems very random, I believe that order is often difficult to see, sometimes so difficult that it can only be perceived by God. His consciousness is not constrained by time like our own. We can only see parts, he sees the whole.

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