You may notice the flower picture at the top of this post. It’s a lovely picture, isn’t it? I took it a few springs ago, with my usually unhappy digital camera. I was pretty impressed with the way it turned out.
As I was looking through my photos, though, and I saw that picture, it made me remember how fast things change. So many times we humans just go through life without recognizing the rapidity of the change we’re experiencing. We change a lot as people, we really do, and I think sometimes we forget to notice. For example, in just the past couple of months, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more self-centered. Well, humans are generally self-centered, but it’s been kind of a downward trend. And I’ve seen my sister changing as well…I don’t want to go into that in detail. So often we don’t notice things like this though.
And why not? I think it’s because the world is in constant change anyways. Chaos theory. If you do the same thing over and over again, with enough variations, eventually everything will explode and go crazy. It’s really complicated and involves imaginary numbers. But out of all this chaos, all this change, comes something that looks like the picture to the right. This is a mandelbrot. It’s a fractal. It was created by running one formula over and over again, iterating itself, and using different imaginary numbers. And look at the result. It’s gorgeous. It’s infinitely complex — I’ve played with an applet one of these, and if you zoom in bazillions of times, you eventually end up with something that looks like the whole thing — but it was created with a completely simple complex.
And if you even change the starting number a little bit, it won’t happen.
That’s the coolest thing about fractals, and mandelbrots, and chaos theory. If you begin with a different starting value, it does nothing like the same thing. It’s so strange. And it’s so much like our lives. If even one little thing was changed about our lives, we would not be where we are today. Another example: I didn’t get accepted into the Tecumseh singers when I was in sixth grade. Yes, yes, very sad. Because of this, I transferred schools. (It seems like such a stupid reason to transfer schools in retrospect…ah well.) I ended up at a private Christian school, which has helped me grow soo much closer to God. Because of my growing closer to God, I decided to attend a Christian university. I had a list of about seven that I was going to choose from (Calvin, Wheaton, Taylor, Goshen, Bethel, Grace, Asbury), plus two private secular colleges (Oberlin and MIT). I could keep going and going and going, but to make a long story short, I chose Taylor because of a summer camp. And I’m sure that this has opened up my future in so many ways. However, where would I be if I had been accepted into the Tecumseh Singers? I don’t know, but surely not where I am now.
As I look back at my past, I cannot help but see God’s hand in all of these little tiny “chaos points” in my life. He is working everything out the way that He wants it to be, and His plan is more perfect than we can ever imagine. Look at how He’s used even the tiniest things in my life to determine where I go to college, and what I do…and most importantly, where I am in my relationship with Him!
So look for the little changes. Look for the points in your life where you could have split off into two different directions. And look at where you are. It’s amazing. And it’s God’s hand working in your life.