A Lesson in a Rubik's Cube


About a month ago, I did something I've never done before. I solved a Rubik's Cube. As a child of the '80s, that little cube has puzzled me for decades. As a kid, I could always solve one side but could never solve more than one. It was frustrating, so I quit trying.

My daughters picked up some Rubik's Cubes somewhere, and my older daughter brought me her cube and asked if I could fix it. Thanks to the wonders of Google, I found instructions for solving the puzzle that had stumped me for so long. It was a triumphant moment when I handed her back her cube with all six sides a solid color.

As I worked that Rubik's Cube, I realized my mistake when I tried to solve it all those years ago. When I got one side just how I wanted it, I was afraid to mess it up to solve the other sides. The truth is, though, that unless you're willing to "mess up" the side you just solved, you'll never solve the others.

Life when we follow God's plan is a lot like solving a Rubik's Cube. It takes a willingness on our part to "mess up" our own perfectly laid plans to follow God's. Solving even a single side of a Rubik's Cube is work. It takes thought and strategy. It's a small accomplishment in its own right. But following someone else's directions for solving the entire thing taught me that no matter how hard I try to solve that cube without messing up the first side, I can't. To solve the cube, I have to give up my own ideas and follow someone else's.

That's why the Rubik's Cube makes a great object lesson about following God's plan for our kids. It's only when we surrender our ideas of how to run our lives to God that we discover that His plan is better. It may mess up our perfectly ordered life, but in the end our impact on this world is far, far greater than with our own plans. Proverbs 19:21 says, "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails."

Use a Rubik's Cube to reinforce this idea with your kids. Hand them a messed up cube and show them how to solve a single side. Then ask them to solve the rest of it. Watch as they try to solve the cube without messing up the first side. Give them the instructions for solving the cube, which you can find here. Help them follow the instructions until you have a perfect cube.

After you have solved the cube, ask your kids what happened when they tried to solve the cube on their own. Talk about their efforts to solve the cube without messing up the side that was finished. Explain that sometimes our lives are like that cube.  Sometimes we want to keep our perfectly ordered life intact -- even when God is calling us to do something different, when he's calling us to mess up that finished side.

Talk with your kids about how when we follow God's plan, it's like following the instructions for the solving the Rubik's Cube. We end up with a finished product that's way better than what we did on our own.