I brought my very favorite one: the 4x4. It’s harder than the 3x3, and it’s even more fun. I haven’t been able to solve it for a few months...I have a suspicion that a friend may have rigged it when I wasn’t looking. Anyway, no algorithm I tried would solve it, so I finally decided to flip the cubes manually. When they called me for my oral round, I left the cube in the waiting room. Well, when I came back after the oral round and everyone was gone, I found it...broken into 57 pieces. No two pieces were left together. Probably some other contestants saw it on the table and decided to play catch and it a hit the wall...hard. I carefully scooped up the pieces and brought them into the other room. After a few minutes, I gave up–it was a mess!!
When I got home that evening, I laid all the pieces on the floor and sorted them out into by their color and placement. Then, I flipped them over and tried seeing how everything fit together. The 4x4 Rubik’s "cube" doesn’t even have a cube base; it is a sphere with X’s etched through it. How on earth did 56 square faces fit into a sphere? I slid the pieces through the sphere X’s. Some stuck, some didn’t. Why wouldn’t they fit? A few slides and clicks later, the ridges fit like puzzle pieces. Within an hour, I rebuilt the cube. Only 56 pieces had been laid out on the table, so there is still a hole. Unless I can find the missing piece somewhere, it won’t ever be a whole cube again, but I learned some interesting things when I was solving the cube inside-out.
- First of all, a rigged cube can’t be solved from the outside. The problem wasn’t with the outside of the cube; it was with the internal structure. No matter what algorithm I used, I couldn’t solve it by manipulating patterns. It needed to be broken and changed on the inside before the outside could be changed.
- Every piece fit together. When you look at dozens of pieces of plastic with weird curves etched underneath, they really don’t look like they fit together. But when you look carefully, you begin to notice patterns and shapes. Then, as you piece the problem together, you see the connection points. The pieces were made to lock together to form a whole. Switch one piece the wrong direction and the whole cube gets jumbled. Put ever piece in the right place, and you end up with a complete Rubik’s cube.
- One of the more obvious things was that ever piece had a purpose. There weren’t any "extra" pieces. The puzzle is broken until every piece is in place...you can’t have a half-solved puzzle and say it’s done (as evidenced by the hole left in my cube by the missing piece). Mr. Rubik designed each piece to have a purpose in the whole; he created the cube to be one thing. Even when we scramble Rubik’s cubes up, they are still whole–they’re just convoluted wholes. In the beginning and the end, though, they are perfect.
You probably see where this is going now=) Our lives are just like that Rubik’s cube! Man started perfect and got "rigged" on the inside. No human manipulation can put us back together again. But, after God breaks us, we can be whole. It takes divine intervention–a renewed heart–to be perfect again. Our problems in life aren’t accidents; they are planned for a purpose. Our problems and struggles in life shape us into being conformed to the true image of what we should be. And finally, we serve a sovereign God. God created and designed us with a purpose. Everything that happens is for His purpose and His glory. Every piece fits together for His plan. Whether or not we like the design of the pieces, He has it right. Maybe I didn’t like that my cube was really a sphere and I wanted to change it. That’s too bad! I can’t change what it was meant to be! Maybe we don’t like what happened...perhaps we weren’t satisfied with a test score or competition. Well, God works all things for good, and He has a purpose for that! Remember, it takes breaking for wholeness! We’re just a bunch of broken pieces. God makes us whole. None of our twists and turns are going to make things better, but His working–no matter how hard it seems–will.
Philippians 2:13–for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.