Four colors, four tones, one goal: remember the pattern. Some may remember this as the classic Hasbro game, Simon. In this game, players test their working memory by watching a circular device with four lighted panels as it spits out a series of sequential patterns. With each round, the series of synchronized tones and flashes become one unit longer, and the challenge is to see how long a pattern you can remember and replicate before making a mistake. 

Decades after its invention, researchers at Cornell would use this game to test the working memory of children and use this data to predict academic achievement and, ultimately, their life prospects of success. They found that children with higher Simon scores achieved consistently higher academic success than those with lower scores. This is because working memory, alongside self-control and adaptability, comprises arguably the most important indicator of an individual’s success: executive function. Infusing hope in the situation of many students and parents is the fact that unlike IQ scores, ethnicity, or family income, executive functions are a component of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most responsive to intervention. In other words, success isn’t as dependent on circumstances as on our willingness to change—or to be changed. 

As children’s successful recollections of Simon’s sequences foretell their future success, so too does our recollection of patterns of providence determine our destiny. We’re told that we have nothing to fear for the future unless we forget God’s leading and teaching in our past. Thankfully, our Great Teacher knows that “one example is worth more than many precepts.” Perhaps it was for this very reason that the Israelites were given the model of the sanctuary, not only the Ten Commandments and other Levitical laws. God gave specific instructions with regards to its construction, “according to all that I show them, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle . . . just so you shall make it.” We too are called to pattern after perfection—Christ. This second issue of Prisoners of Hope calls attention to the “former things of old” and the “men who executed His counsel”” in hopes that we today will also pattern our work after His plans. 

A spiritual revival cancels crime in a nation and millions are converted in secular Western Europe. A backslidden Adventist college is transformed when students and teachers make decided changes according to the inspired counsels of God. An atheist-turned-missionary revives dead churches and evangelizes the most non-religious cities of America. And what crowns these successes? God’s Word and His promises being our point of reference (Hamilton), His methods of medical ministry made our own (Stafford), His educational blueprint being our model (Madison), His reforms our reforms (Sopha), and His revival our revival (Davis). 

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