Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rush Hour

Three girls in our house (Older Daughter, Middle Daughter, and Friend Visiting for Sleepover) have been avidly playing "Rush Hour", a game that I find quite challenging myself.

It is essentially a little problem solving logic puzzle, and I remember doing such puzzles when being tested for a free flow education environment my public school offered called "Challenge". I was nervous going to my school on a Saturday morning for the entrance exam (ironic because once admitted to "Challenge", there were no grades, just a free form classroom environment). In fact, I thought my dad was dropping me off at the front gate, and so I undid my seatbelt and opened the door, only to be pitched out onto the tarmac as he swung left into the parking spot he was aiming towards.

Anyway, that was the last IQ test I took, and I guess the somersault out of the car must've helped the result. In "Challenge", a teacher was perplexed by my friends and I seeking out world domination in a scenario he set up as sort of a pre-computer version of Sim City. We had grown up on the board game "Risk" after all...

Back to Rush Hour. My brother-in-law was the first to tackle the "Grand Master" level, and said that his trick was to reason backwards. By this he meant that he looked where the little car had to go in the puzzle, and what needed to happen to get it there. (He's a successful consultant, unsurprisingly).

But reasoning backwards is also a good way to consider the Christian life. The apostles do this (e.g., Paul (Colossians 3), Peter (1 Pet 1:3-13), John (1 John 2:15-17) and James (James 4:13-16)) consistently -- urge us to consider our end destination, and take the steps going backward from that to see what choices we make today.

This is not only faithful but wise. It is the secure future of a Christian that encourages him or her in the pressure faced today. Rather than being pie in the sky thinking, it turns out that reasoning backwards from eternity makes for a very practical framework for decisions. Even for patience in the midst of rush hour...

Some words from "Before the Throne of God Above" (click the title for a musical link) by Charitie Bancroft:

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.

For God the just is satisfied

To look on Him and pardon me.

One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,

My life is hid with Christ on high,

With Christ my Savior and my God!