Sunday, May 31, 2009

The God of Cell Phone Static

I grew up hearing the story of my parents being acquaintances in college, my dad going off to war, and then one random day at the School Board, my mother walking down a different corridor than the one she always used and happening upon my father again after all those many years. Coincidence? During my second year of college, I entered a classroom to find only one seat empty—all the way across the room and directly in front of the man who would become my husband. Just another chance encounter?

That’s what most people would say. When a tornado completely destroys one house yet leaves the neighbor’s house untouched, it’s a freak occurrence. When a raging forest fire suddenly stops at a neighborhood and retreats, it’s just by chance. Happenstance, freak accident, chance, coincidence—is life really nothing more than a string of mere random happenings?

How terrifying to think that the God who crafted such an intricate universe, who has literally carved out time for us in His timeless eternity, would leave everything else to chance. Thankfully, with God, nothing is “random.”

In our lifetime, science has even recognized that there is no real, true chaos in the universe. Instead, chaos is ordered and structured in its own way. In James Gleick’s Chaos: Making a New Science, he explains how scientists have discovered that “Nature was constrained. Disorder was channeled, it seemed, into patterns with some common underlying theme” (152). American mathematician John Hubbard concluded that there is “no randomness” in biology: “Everything is highly structured” (239).

Another scientist, Benoit Mandelbrot, even sifted through 62-years of cotton-price data that “saw two World Wars and a depression” to determine that the economy, although appearing “random and unpredictable” was actually not that random but, rather, remained constant (86). Even transmission static on telephone lines is not really random: “the proportion of error-free periods to error-ridden periods remained constant” (92).

Thus, while scientists can’t predict what the economy, the weather, or phone static will do, each seemingly chaotic system is restrained, bound, stable in a sense (44). Why is it stable? Not really random? Because our God is constantly in charge of His entire creation—He is not merely a watchmaker.

Consider the rather lengthy reply God gave to Job concerning His sovereignty in controlling His universe: “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place,…Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth? Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father? Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens…Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?” (Job 38: 12, 22-29, 32).

Just in this one passage, God says He controls the sun coming up each morning, snow, hail, each bolt of lightening, the wind, each drop of rain, how and where the rain flows once it pools together on the ground, the movement of the stars, each blade of grass, each drop of dew. Wow. Did you hear that? Our God “fathers the drops of dew.”

If our Father is this careful in how He orders and controls His creation, how much more careful is He with us, His most precious creation? As Paul said, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

This week be comforted: with God, there are no accidents, no coincidences, no random chaos. Our God is one who “counts the number of stars; He gives names to all them” (Psalm 147:4). Our God is one who says, “the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matt. 10:30). He controls all. Think of that the next time you have problems with cell phone static.


  1. The reality of Him being on the throne, ruling and reigning brings such a soothing calm to me.

    I especially love the Scripture you listed in Job. What a great reminder!

  2. Loving the new header/banners on both sites.
    This is such a good post. Love how you bring out His truth in your words and back them with scripture that will cause the heart to pause and know that He is God. There is none likened unto Him. No matter who you are, there is no erasing or denying that truth, and yes as Rena said, that truth brings comfort and peace.