The digital age has greatly increased the amount of information the average human can access and consume. Today, we can sit down at our laptops, pull out our iPads, or walk along with our smart phones, and Google, Bing, or use any other search engine to inquire on a topic of interest. Answers to questions we wouldn’t even think of asking a decade ago, are now at our fingertips within seconds. All this serves to increase our curiosity level, and feed a desire for even more information. But how much information can we consume and store, and what do we really do with it all?
A recent study published in Science, and summarized by Carl Bialik in the Wall Street Journal (click here to read the article) , indicates that the world’s capability to store, communicate and compute information has grown by 23% each year since 1986. Search engines and other tools enable us to more easily filter and process this information. A further study at The University of Michigan found that in 2005 “people spend one minute consuming media for every 1,000 minutes available” which is about ten-fold the rate in 1960. This storage capability is measured in exabytes, which Google tells me is equivalent to one quintillion bytes. That’s the number one (1) with 18 zeros after it.
But here’s the really amazing part. While we humans work to categorize, store, quantify, and access all this information, God already holds all the information of the world’s past, present and future. He knows it, understands it, sorts it, applies it, and analyzes it, faster than we can imagine. He has videos of everything in our past and our future because He planned it and saw it happening.
We use search engines to access facts, information and opinions; concrete data that men and women use to manage their environment. God goes beyond that to store thoughts, feelings, purposes, plans and pursuits; the intimate details of the spirit of man. Even if I kept a journal of my life, I could never write down every experience, every thought, every desire that I’ve had throughout my life. Yet God knows it all, and He knows what’s best for me because He created me.
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Often I wish that God had a search engine like Google that I could ask any question and get an immediate answer. I’d ask about the “whys” of my past, and the “whats” of my future; I’d ask about the “whens” of His provision, and the “hows” of His plans. The same overwhelming desire to access and consume data in the natural realm would quickly translate to the spiritual realm. But alas, it doesn’t work that way. God wants us to ask Him, but receiving the answer is our opportunity for growth, as we learn to listen to His voice; read His Word; and follow Him in new ways. Why can’t we just get an instant response from Him? Because we probably couldn’t handle it. Because His thoughts are so much higher than ours, His ways are so much higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) that He has to prepare us for what He’s doing in our lives and for where He’s taking us. Our minds think simple thoughts in comparison to His, and would not be able to register what He was saying.