Even before I became a Christian I was always fascinated by creation. I always knew, from somewhere within, everything we see around us could not have just come about by chance or the evolution of some single-celled organism deposited on the planet billions of years ago.
As an engineer I love to create things from scratch. I rarely, if ever, get to practice this in my work. However, during the last several years I have turned it into a hobby: creating something from raw components, using initial ideas and sketches, right through to prototyping. This process takes time and things don't always work initially—usually directly proportional to the complexity of a project! It is easy to get stuck to the point where you are literally pulling your hair out!
Sometimes, while I am working on a project, an answer will flash into my mind or I will dream of the answer. This does not always occur but I do note that the times where I actively include Jesus in my work, by conversing with him as if he was actually sitting there with me, I am more likely to hear his voice and things are much more likely to succeed.
When things do succeed, I get a real sense of satisfaction and I feel God is allowing me to see a small glimpse of the satisfaction he must have felt at the completion of his creation!
Engineering: irrelevant to God?
As a new Christian, I never used to include Jesus in my work. Everyone around me was my complete opposite. All my Christian friends were studying unrelated works. I very much felt like a black sheep, as though my interests were irrelevant to God.
I foolishly assessed and compared myself against the people around me. I thought God would not be interested in my day-to-day work unless it was a faith-related academic piece. Fortunately I stuck to what I was naturally gifted at, despite my concerns.
One day, several years ago, I was working on a project and was stumped by a problem. I had no solution—nothing. I went for a walk to ponder the issue and for the first time in my work, I felt God speak to me in the form of a thought, and show me the resolution! I was a bit disconcerted and initially thought it was my imagination, but this voice had clearly not been my own. Later on, while working on the problem, I applied the resolution and it worked! At that moment I understood God must be interested in my work.
I can always tell when inspiration is from God, as it appears as a thought—only much more pronounced. It is in line with my train of thinking and is confirmed biblically by some means.
Two days after God had helped me solve this problem I visited a church and the main message spoke directly to my situation. It was a sermon on the body of Christ, based on 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and Romans chapter 12, verses 4–5.
The body of Christ, the Church, is a unit made up of many parts and functions as a whole. In the same way, we all have different gifts and talents. Regardless of your gifts and talents, you use them as part of the body, with the other members of the body, in the service of our Lord.
In the coming weeks, through time spent in prayer and reading the scriptures, I realised I was the individual I was created to be. It was wrong to compare my talents with others' gifts, and silly to desire to conform to what I felt others thought I should be. We are called to be like Christ—not like other Christians!
Recognising God's design in creation
I started becoming more interested in recognising and acknowledging God's design in creation. I realised he shares my interest in creating and purposing things! Or rather, I share his interest in design.
I was always fascinated by agriculture and I became even more aware that it is God who accomplished some awesome engineering as he created plants, animals and humans! When you dive into the world of even the most basic of plant biology, it is absolutely amazing what you discover.
Something as simple as a vine cutting shows intelligence. A vine cutting knows which way is up and down, and it can sense light and temperature! If you plant a cutting upside down it will not grow. It will go dormant if the temperature and light are not at a certain level. A plant's ability to replicate and repair is truly supernatural—something I believe humanity will never achieve through their own design. This ability demonstrates God's creative power and supremacy in making and sustaining life. From an engineering perspective, plant life is an incredible organic machine of God's creation.
A created individual
If you ever feel alone in your work, remember God really does care about your natural abilities and interests. You are the individual he created you to be. It was him who gave those abilities to you in the first place!
Next time you are out and about, look at the earth around you: from the scenery to all the trees, animals and God's most significant creation—humanity. Praise God for the most epic engineering!
Michael Dahlenburg is an electronics engineer currently working in the ATM industry. He is non-denominational and has previously been involved in church plants and assisting those in ministry. His interests include: enjoying family, home DIY, gardening, all things tech-related and driving his wife crazy with a constant stream of inventions! He lives with his Wife Michelle and (soon-to-be) 3 children in God's own land of Southern Adelaide, Australia.
Michael Dahlenburg's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/michael-dahlenburg.html