Information Vacuum

There were no instructions, no plans, no specifications - just an incomplete set of photos.  Confident in my ability to fabricate and improvise, I spent Saturday morning building a top-hive feeder for my bees.  

Based on the accumulated wisdom of my 80 days in beekeeping (I started this project on June 1), I decided to duplicate a project from another, more seasoned beekeeper.  His photos seemed clear enough.  I have read about feeders.  I have watched YouTube videos about feeders.  I’ve talked to other beekeepers about feeders.  I was ready to go.

I had the feeder 80% complete when I realized two vital pieces of information were missing:  the size of the container which will hold the sugar-water and the depth of box in which it will sit.  Even though most of the feeder was built, I couldn’t finish it without those two details.  In fact, some of which I already built will have to be redone.  Even though I understood the big picture how this would be assembled, missing those details made my efforts on Saturday pretty much meaningless.  It is back to the drawing board.  I need a more complete picture.

It seems I vastly over-estimated my improvisation skills.  It wasn’t until I was well into this project that I realized there was a problem.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  That information vacuum was significant enough to bring the whole thing to a halt.

Building a top-hive feeder is a relatively simple project.  How much more are we impeded when the “project” at hand is something more complicated - say, like day-to-day life?  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could access a complete set of instructions, plans, and specifications for building a good life?  How many obstacles and how much grief could be avoided if only we had the blueprint ahead of time?  

The reality is none of us have access to that kind of information.  There is a vacuum.  The sage of the Old Testament, Solomon, commented on this dilemma.  “The purpose of the information vacuum,” he said, “is so that we will all learn to depend on God.” (Eccl. 3:11-14)  Solomon also builds a case for confidence in God - after all, who else knows the end from the beginning?

Given the eternality and infiniteness of God, our years of life experience is insignificant.  The “photos” of life experience, whether our own or someone else’s, are always going to be an incomplete set.  Our ability to fabricate and improvise meaning and purpose to life will never fully satisfy our daily needs.  Like my feeder project, we are often deep into the project of life before we realize that something significant is missing.  There is knowledge we do not have.  There are details we will not understand.

In spite of this vacuum of information, our lives can be seasoned with hope and confidence if we focus on the “Who” of life’s details rather than the “what.”  This is our perpetual struggle.  This is the essence of “living by faith.”  Faith means we have assurance about the God we worship, especially when we have doubts about the circumstances of our daily experiences.

The Apostle Paul summarized it the best:


Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
 "Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
 "Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?"
 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
 (Rom. 11:33-36 NIV)

Graham Bulmer
Lead Pastor
Graham and Sharon Bulmer bring many years of pastoral, teaching, leadership development and administrative experience to the Q50 Community Church plant. They served in Latin America as missionaries for almost 15 years, and have pastored here in Canada.