I remember learning about entropy while I was in High School. According to dictionary.com entropy is a “lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.” I remember thinking that was ridiculous. It seemed that way to me, at least. My life was just beginning to take shape! How could it be moving from a state of order to disorder?
It really didn’t take too long to see that entropy was a pretty accurate description of life. And I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing.
We are born into this world totally dependent upon others. Whether we are raised by our birth parents, single parents, adoptive parents or foster parents we are virtually helpless. As we grow and mature physically we begin our quest for independence, longing for the time we will finally be free. Free from our parents’ rules. Free to come and go as we please. Free to pursue the things we want to pursue.
But freedom is a step to disorder, as we quickly learn. Sure, we attain that which we desired. But arriving there we discover that it really isn’t what we were looking for at all. Suddenly we find ourselves indebted to a boss, a landlord, our stomachs. There’s the phone bill, the heating/cooling bill, maybe a car payment or student loans, all demanding a chunk of our time and resources.
Then we realize that we are solely responsible for tasks that were assigned to us when we were children. The trash needs to be taken out, the lawn mowed, the table cleared and the dishes done. The sidewalk needs to be shovelled and the dog needs to be cleaned up after. All of a sudden it becomes clear that order has begun the slide toward disorder.
Maybe then we get married; consciously or unconsciously we think this will move us back toward order. Now we find that schedules need to be juggled as two people now compete for bathroom time in the morning. We discover that two people make more than twice as much trash that needs to be taken out. We learn that we aren’t responsible for our own happiness alone, but also for that of our spouse. Life can be messy.
Then the children start arriving. If you have children you understand that not much else needs to be said about the entropic life involving the raising of children! Immediately the child’s sleep and feeding cycles take what little order you think you have and shakes it like a snow globe. (Still my favorite age for children is from birth to talking back!) You think that once the child is potty trained it will get better, but something new always seems to arise that leaves you pulling out your hair.
When the children are grown and have moved out of the house you enjoy a brief reprieve. Then you start to notice aches and pains you never had before. You move just a little more slowly. Your outside world may seem to be increasing in order, but physical changes keep the ball rolling downhill.
Have you ever noticed that when life is moving smoothly, and you have not a care in the world, you feel less dependent upon God? Perhaps that’s why the cycle of life adheres to entropy. Deuteronomy 8:11-14 says, “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God… lest when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart will be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (ESV).
We have battled for control of our lives since the day we were born. But if entropy teaches us anything, it is that we never truly have control. We may think that we are, and believe that we are self-sufficient, but there’s not a single good thing in our lives that God did not provide for us. “Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:16-17 ESV). Jesus said, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11 ESV)!
God made it abundantly clear that we are dependent upon Him; He wants us to live without worry. Just as we were cared for and fed when we were young, God cares for us. “‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (Luke 12:22-24, 31 ESV).
I have come full circle in my life. I disbelieved entropy. I experienced entropy. I embraced entropy. It has served as a constant reminder that my life is in the hands of the One who created me. I am now and have always been dependent upon Him. And I will remember and be grateful.