Charles Babbage (1791-1871) developed a fascination with clocks. He later created one of the first computers in the 1800’s. It consisted of some 2000 parts precisely engineered of brass and steel, and it all worked in motion powered by a crank. This machine, which still works today, marked the beginning of today’s sophisticated computers. Babbage spent decades on his machines and his computer code in which few saw any future value. At first, the British government supported his work, but eventually withdrew the support because they couldn’t see an application.
Eventually, toward the end of his life, Babbage reported that he had never seen a happy day in his entire life. He hated humanity, especially the English government and most of all organ-grinders because they reminded him of his failed project. He never lived to know that his work was the forerunner of the modern computer. When the first computer was built in 1946 at Harvard, it was referred to as the realization of Babbage’s dream.
Though Babbage was a genius beyond his time, he lacked the ability to deal with and understand pain. One of the problems of life is dealing with the disappointments and setbacks and especially pain. One of the greatest dangers for Christians is failing to understand that God has built meaning into every part of life. James wrote some very sobering words about this subject:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4 So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
God rarely gives us an explanation of what we are going through, which is what we often feel we most need. He does, however, continue to work in our lives in these challenges that come our way. He is at work in our relationships that extend beyond our few years here—something Babbage couldn’t grasp. For the man or woman of faith, despite what they see or do not see, they believe God is faithful and that he is working. Because of this attitude, they are freed from any bitterness and are allowed to experience God’s providence and provision. They come to know, in time, that God is at work in their lives in obscure ways, bringing meaning to their pain.
Duane Schultz & Sydney Schultz, A History of Modern Psychology, 10th (ed)Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Belmont, CA, 2012. PP. 26-29.