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Posts Tagged ‘Arithmetic’

Don’t calculate without God (1)

I have always been a whiz with numbers.  In school I could add, subtract, multiple, and divide with the best.  Word problems and algebraic equations were my soul mates.  

Arithmetic was home base.  I consistently made A’s in math until I hit trigonometry and calculus.  My guaranteed A’s turned into hard won B’s.  After completing my second semester calculus class at Chapel Hill, I had enough.

Life is like calculus, it’s hard to figure out.  I was never able to look at a calculus problem and know the correct answer immediately.  Life is the same.  Just when I think I have life figured out, reality steps up to the plate and throws me a sinking curve ball.

When I became a Christian and began to include God in the equation, life did not necessarily become easier, but the answer became clearer.  With God in the mix, I know how the story ends, thus I know where I am going and can more easily find my way.

Because God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts (2) my greatest error in life is to make plans, do my life calculus, without considering God.  

I am a list maker.  My favorite is a list of pros and cons.  I will consider every obstacle and possibility while completing this list.  Once my list is complete, I weigh my options and make a decision.  Once a decision is made, I move forward.

Periodically I will show my list to a group of leaders in the church or to the men in my Covenant Group, to help them understand that I made a wise and careful decision.

One day, a friend who was reviewing my list asked me, “Where’s God?”  

I stumbled and stammered, I was struck dumb, silenced with nothing to say.  God was not considered.  I had not calculated for God.  I had planned for opposition, deficiencies, sin, evil, rainy days, surprises, and a host of other potential problems the world might throw down in my path.  But I had not planned on God.

My friend said,”Without God, your plans will fail.”

I hate it when my friends are right and I am wrong. 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (3)

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  1. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year (Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986).
  2. Isaiah 55:8.
  3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 29:11.

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We know that for those who love God

all things work together for good.  

Romans 8:28 (1)

When I was a kid I loved word problems in Arithmetic, writing proofs for theorems in Geometry, and solving complex algebraic equations.  I was one of those students the rest of the class math hated.  Usually I could look at a problem and know the answer immediately.

This gift, which I have since lost, helped me see the world from an analytical cause and effect mindset.  Everything could be explained.

In college I studied bio-genetics and neuropsychology as I moved away from the mathematical world to an interest in discovering the cause of human behaviors.  I was convinced that with good science and solid philosophical logic, I could explain human behavior and interactions.

When I entered seminary and began to seriously study biblical theology I was convinced that as a pastor I would be able to explain the ways of God in our lives.

Except for numbers adding up, I must confess I have yet to unravel the cause and effect of human behavior and how God works.

For someone who wants to understand how and why, I finally had to confront the reality that neither behavior (God’s or man’s) nor the operational mechanics of the universe will all fit into a neat and tidy formula.

Once I realized that the human mind is not capable of figuring out all the ways of man, God, and the physical world, it was easier and more satisfying to be a man of faith.

Though unexplainable, God is part of the equation of life.  I have seen His hand and felt His presence too many times to deny Him.  I can never let go of this reality, even though there is much I cannot explain about God.

This faith has brought me great peace and joy.

I have learned to accept and to be thankful for His unexplainable behaviors.

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  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Romans 8:28.

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