The Mathematics of Faith
The Mathematics of Faith
Life happens in surprising and oft-times unsettling ways. The unexpected and the unpredictable are woven throughout the fabric of everyday life. These can bring gladness and gratitude or dejection and despair, but sadly, because we live in a broken world, it is often dejection and despair that surface, producing fear and hopelessness, leaving a person feeling shaken, frightened and alone.
However, during these unexpected and unpredictable times, we are not alone, for God is with us, an active participant in this world and energetically involved in our lives. Jesus promises not to leave or forsake us but to our own detriment we tend not to factor the presence of Jesus into the equations of our lives. We need to remember that Jesus is with us and within us. This real time presence of Jesus brings an additional figure to the equations of our daily lives, transforming those equations of our lives, converting the typical calculations of fear and hopelessness into hope in God and trust of God.
The inclusion of Jesus into the equations of life shatters the conventional, common sense 2 + 2 = 4 way of looking at the world, turning it on its head and kicking it out the door. Adding Jesus to the equation changes everything, bringing new, never imagined possibilities and insights, freeing us from the seemingly irresistible gravitational pull of common sense with its logic and reasonableness and enabling us to receive the confounding wisdom from above.
We see the mathematics of faith, with its resulting computations, powerfully demonstrated throughout the gospels and our own lives.
1. 6 empty stone pots + 120 gallons of water + Jesus = fine quality wine for an entire wedding party. (John 2:1-12)
2. 2 fish + 5 loaves of bread + Jesus = a catered meal for 5,000 people. (Matthew 14:13-21)
3. 1 paralytic + 3 friends + 1 hole in a roof + Jesus = 1 person walking out the front door, forgiven, healed, mat in hand. (Mark 2:1-12)
4. 1 crown of thorns + 2 wooden crossbeams + 3 nails + 1 spear + 1 empty tomb + Jesus = love, grace, forgiveness, transformation and freedom available to all. (John 19:1-20:10)
In my own life
5. 1 man + 1 woman + Jesus = 4 marvelous children, 3 wonderful spouses, all who love and follow Jesus, and 3 incredible grandchildren…
6. 1 fifty year old man + 1 dream of journeying with pastors + Jesus = well over 15, 000 people ministered to, 1 additional full time person hired, a world wide ministry presence, 2 published books, 1 journal article, teaching at 3 seminaries, working with a wide range of churches /denominations throughout the United States and beyond.
7. 1 purchased airline ticket + 1 canceled ministry opportunity + Jesus = 1 impromptu trip, 2 God orchestrated Spirit led group meetings, 7 friendships forged, 1 awesome healing moment, God's love demonstrated, proclaimed and experienced over and over again.
8. 1 dead son + anger x10 + Anguish x100 + Jesus = a weeping-caring-sustaining Presence, a husband and wife beating the odds and staying together, the freedom to be honest, hope in and remain unedited with God, a grief infused with hope of heaven while owning the pain of loss and what will never be, the ability to gradually begin to dream, live, love and even know joy and happiness again.
What about your life? How have you seen and experienced Jesus, turning the 2 + 2 = 4 common sense way of looking at the world on its head and kicking it out the door in your own life? Take some time to construct some additional mathematics of faith from your own life (maybe 3 equations).
This exercise will help reinforce the validity of faith-infused mathematics and in turn help you to more readily factor God into the circumstances of your daily life. This can help you to resist the pull to look at the circumstances of your life as the world looks at such events, leaning on your own understanding, trusting in your ability to figure it out, depending on your aptitude to know what needs to be done and your own strength to get it done.
As you reflect on the mathematics of faith in your own life it will gradually become easier to factor Jesus into the everyday equations of your life. This in turn will foster the ability to begin to trust God in deeper ways, developing eyes to see the unseen, eternal realities of life and own the truth that God is the God who is able to do beyond anything we can think ask or imagine. So what are you waiting for?
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