Let me share a story about how God orchestrates events in our lives to accomplish his will and help us find our calling. I started this blog not long after moving to a new department in my company. The road I’ve been speeding down since then is worth describing.
My first attempt at getting the transfer failed. Another engineer who hired on at our location shortly after me got it instead. Later on, I discovered that the divine plan was better than my own. A few months after that first interview, another job in the same department came available, but this one was far better suited to my skills and one which I knew would be much more interesting to me. It would involve a great deal of database manipulation for reporting, analysis, and whatever else might need to be done with our computer systems that I could help with.
Around that same time frame, I was envisioning a draft concept for a bible search/study tool that I have coined “MetaV.” All I had was the idea and an illegible sketch. I was certain that I’d have to invest in some new tools and steadily, patiently learn some new programming language to make it work with the database I had begun building. That all changed when I swapped jobs and began learning about newer ways to gather, compute, analyze, and visualize data.
Nearly every month I have learned of new tools and techniques which help me take leaps forward in various projects for this site and at work. Many times I just “happen” to discover them. As one who believes in God’s omnipotence rather than luck, I can see how he uses things like this in “secular” circumstances to teach us and mold us spiritually. There is really no difference between our work lives and spiritual lives. God is everywhere, in control of everything and every part of our day.
The field collectively known as Business Intelligence includes players like SAP (Crystal Reports), IBM Cognos, and of course Microsoft (plus many others). Then, along comes Tableau. It turns out that the people that make the most annoying Facebook games collect and analyze user data in ways you wouldn’t believe – and they use Tableau to do it. I thought: what if I could use that to analyze scripture? What if we applied business intelligence tools to find biblical wisdom?
Now, don’t get me wrong – only the Holy Spirit can truly bring understanding of his words. But, having a tool that provides a view of scripture you’ve never seen before can be a big help in beginning that process. I am happy to report that Tableau does have a free version of their software for use with public data that I have begun applying to MetaV. Thanks to the awareness of new tools gained through my new job duties, I am using weeks-old technology to create things like readability graphics without having to learn any special programming or making any investment other than time.
With a little more of that investment, an integrated view of the entire Bible with a map, timeline, and details about each verse in a single interactive view is not that far away. Had I gotten the job I originally went for, I don’t know that I’d be this far along in the process. I don’t know that I would have found the tools to help me do the things that I believe God has equipped and called me to do. I do know that his timing and his plans are perfect. When that time is right, readers of this blog will be the first to discover an entirely new approach to bible study.