“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” - Matthew 11:28–29 (The Message)
When I was a kid I had a love/hate relationship with a certain puzzle toy. I always wanted one, but when I got it, I just couldn’t make it work. No matter how hard I tried, I could never figure out how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. Sure, I could make the colors line up if I pulled off all the stickers and put them back on that way. But I could never figure out how to actually solve the puzzle the way it was made.
A couple of months ago Bri found an old unsolved cube in the basement and set to work solving it (while leaving the stickers on). To me it was amazing, and she really liked to do it. She would solve it, and I would mess it up, and she’d do it again. She enjoyed the challenge, so for Christmas I bought her several different cubes with different levels of difficulty. We went on for a while, her with the solving and me with the messing them up, and eventually, I wanted to solve one too.
I picked up a cube I had messed up and started flipping it around. I’d get some colors together and then they would go away. I really didn’t know what I was doing, until Bri told me that there was a pattern, an algorithm, a rhythm to solving a Rubik’s cube. She wrote down the rhythm, and answered a couple of questions, and now? Now I can solve the toughest cube we have, because I have learned the rhythms, too.
I took a few of our cubes on vacation, because there really is something deeply satisfying about solving the puzzle, especially when you know the rhythms. I was not prepared for the amount of people who looked on my ability to solve the puzzle with awe. There were so many people who had the same love/hate relationship with that colorful little cube as I had when I was younger. My usual response was, “It’s not all that difficult once you learn the rhythms.”
Faith can seem a lot like a Rubik’s Cube at times: a lot of moving pieces that we can never seem to line up properly. It’s like a puzzle that is too difficult, so we chuck it across the room or leave it in the toy box and never really bother with it. But faith, like the Rubik’s Cube, is all about learning the rhythms — as Jesus says above, the “unforced rhythms of grace.”
Learning the rhythms of grace helps us to put the pieces together, to live in such a way that we don’t get tired and worn out enough to throw our faith across the room or to leave it on a shelf. But those rhythms don’t come without effort. We have to LEARN them. And that means following Jesus. As we follow Jesus in his ministry of grace to all, as we walk in that grace, we learn its rhythms — and people will be in awe, wanting to know how we accomplish such a thing. And we will be able to answer, “It’s not all that difficult once you learn the rhythm.”