Strengthening my Faith through Code

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a discussion with a true atheist.  Plenty of agnostics, many that are just indifferent and some of different religions, but I can’t say ever a true atheist.  Many of you know I’m a software developer by trade, so I deal everyday with things that a large majority of people don’t understand.  I write lines of code, that the computer somehow magically interprets and makes the computer do crazy and wondrous things.  At least that is how my children view what I do.  When I step back and think about it, what we do is kind of magical.  I write some code, that is nothing more than a few lines of semi-english looking text.  The computer translates it into a bunch of numbers and ultimately into a bunch of 1’s and 0’s.  When you put enough of those together, they make the game you are playing or work application run or the browser that you are reading this post in….it’s really quite amazing.  But it all takes a little bit of faith.

I ran across the article this morning called, How Programming Has Strengthened my Faith in God, that got me thinking about all this.  I can play around with code to make it operate however I want.  The following code is from a game I started writing recently.  What it does is not important to our discussion, but to get the game to work properly, the code has precisely tell the computer what to do, but it essential controls the movement of the main player character.  With some very minor changes, I could make the character fly, appear frozen to the ground, run at twice the speed or half the speed.  I could make anything happen.

Code

 

This world, in a very simplistic view, is much the same.  I drop a ball from the roof and the routine of gravity kicks in and the ball falls to the ground.  If you know anything about gravity, you know the formulas, the constants, the calculations that need to happen to tell us how quickly the ball drops and with what velocity.  When it hits the ground does it bounce and how high?  And then how long does it take until the ball finally comes to rest.  All those calculations and if one little calculation was changed or one constant was tweaked even slightly, the ball could very well not drop to the ground but fly horizontally across the sky and out into space.

But we know it drops and we know before we release it, that it will drop.  How doe we know that?  Well it takes a bit of faith at first.  Then after much experience, we come to trust and believe that it is true, even though we don’t understand it or really can tell anyone exactly how it works.  But we know it does and that it always will.

Is our faith in God any different?  At first we may be skeptical and not be sure if there is a God or not.  Then something happens that gives us a little bit of evidence.  We ultimately step out in faith that God exists and works in our lives daily.  We may not know how, we may not know the reasoning behind things, but we have faith that God is there, even though that faith can be a little scary at times.   Then after we become more mature in our faith, we just “know” that God is there.  It is still faith, because we ultimately don’t know the inner workings, but we know from experience that He works in our lives.  After dropping the ball from the roof fifty times, we still may not have a better understanding of how gravity works, but we have faith that when we drop it the fifty-first time, it will work much the same as the previous tries.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  – Hebrews 11:1

I’ll finish this post with that one quote from Hebrews as it pretty much sums it all up.  We have faith in so many things every day that we don’t understand, yet so many find it hard to have faith that there is a God that works in our lives every day, despite the evidence that surrounds us.

God, the Ultimate Software Developer

523305_463804830325771_458313221_nI’m a software developer by trade.  I write the code that runs on your work computer.  I’ve written web sites that you may browse to each day.  I write the games that some of you may play (well I’m kind of old-school, so perhaps not many people play them).  In other words, I sit behind a computer a good part of the day and work on code.  BTW:  The picture to the left is me early in my career…long hair and all.

Where did I learn the skill?  Well I picked up computers as a young boy, working on an old Commodore 64 and writing my first game and first compiler there.  I dabbled in the inner workings of the system and made that machine do some crazy things back in the day.  Over the years I upgraded my computer and it was a natural fit for me to jump into computer science once I got into college (even though I took a detour into electrical engineering for a few years).

I took a natural shine to it and I think I’m pretty decent at what I do.  But really, where do any of us get our skills and talents?

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If the gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently, if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.  – Romans 12:6-8

Usually, when I’ve read this verse in the past, I think these are talking about gifts specifically dealing with the ministry field.  But, I’ve come to realize that our entire life should be a ministry, whether we work for the church or in a secular environment.  We should remember that whatever we do for a career;

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.  -Psalm 138:8

Rejoice in our labor

Another thing  I’ve recently come to realize comes from a book of the Bible I can say I’ve not read very often.

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life — that is indeed a gift from God – Ecclesiastes 5:19

The Bible makes it clear that God wants us to enjoy our work.  He wants us to be successful;

That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil — this is the gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 3:13

What better way to enjoy your toil, then to do a good job at it and enjoy the gifts and talents God has given to you.  God has given me the gift of programming.  I should rejoice in that and realize that since God doesn’t make mistakes, He’s taught me all that I know.

So let’s take that a step further.  If God has given me the gift and He wants me to do well…..why not ask Him to help me in my work daily?  When I come across a difficult problem at work and I’m struggling for a solution, I try and remember that nothing is too difficult for God, who gave me the wisdom that I have.  I ask him to join me in my project and ask him to give me the wisdom I need to solve a problem…..it’s amazing that since I’ve been doing that, how much things seems to fall into place.

I love looking back at my day and seeing all the God moments.  I wonder if I hadn’t asked Him to join me and asked for his help, how much longer I would have struggled.  Problems haven’t gone away.  I still sometimes have stressful meetings or projects, but I know that with God, the ultimate programmer, there is no problem I can’t solve.

Whether you’re a programmer or a plumber, whether you do sales for a living or work in management; ask God to come with you to work.  Don’t just save your God time for Sunday’s.  Invite Him to join you each and every day, each and every moment and see what difference that makes in your life and your career.