Very few people claim mathematics as their strong suit. And even fewer are correct about themselves when they claim it as a strength. It takes a unique mind to enthusiastically embrace the disciplines, the elegance, and the quirkiness of mathematics. Most of us start well but run into a wall somewhere and end up with that blank stare that could also be the result of a radical lobotomy.
I do not claim any enthusiasm, skill or ability in mathematics and that blank stare visit my face more often than most other people can claim. However, it befuddles me, even more, when a math enthusiast tries to engage me in a discussion about how to prove that 1 equal 0. Or how to disprove that 1 equal 0.
But why?!? Why?!?
Who are these people? What goes on in their heads? I struggle to understand and hope somebody will be able to enlighten me someday.
Another person who confuses me with his math is our God. He often displays a complete disregard for the rules and acts as if he is God. I think this is a habit of which you and I should take careful note. His goodness and kindness towards us could lead to Him doing impossible math on our behalf.
Would you like that? I would!
The Bible tells the story of a drought in Israel during which a very poor widow had to share her and her son’s last meal with Elijah. (1 Kings 17) In response, God blessed her with flour and oil that lasted for as long as the drought lasted. Her handful and little bit lasted and lasted…
When was the last time God asked you to share or give away the last of something? He often does this, but you and I might not be listening as we hold on to things in desperation or fear. Your last of something, as you wonder where the next of it will come from, may be the key to God doing impossible math on your behalf!
Feed the women and children too
Jesus told his disciples to feed a crowd that had followed them to a remote area with no local McDonalds around. (Matt 14) The crowd is described as 5 000 in number, but the habit of the day was to count only the men. The women and children in attendance would easily make this crowd 15 000 strong. The disciples tried to explain the problem to Jesus. He just wanted to know: So, what do you have? They thought this information was irrelevant as 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes were nowhere near enough to make any kind of difference.
God will often do impossible math with what you already have. Never lose sight of what you already have in your hand. Do not look down on it in despair. Just make it available and watch!
Water at room temperature has a surface tension (the cohesive forces between liquid molecules) of 72.8 millinewtons per meter. This means that to walk on water you will need shoes that are 8,108m2 and distribute your weight of no more than 60kg evenly. An average soccer field is 6 400m2 …
Peter did not know any of this, but he had his eyes on Jesus and got out of a boat in obedience to His voice. (Matt 14) For Peter, it was as simple as that! He also discovered the mistake of taking his eyes off Jesus. And yes, it is as simple as that!
Not difficult enough
Gideon raised an army of 32 000 to fight the 135 000 strong Midianite army. (Judges 6-7) They were not trained soldiers and when God directed Gideon to allow the unwilling ones to go home, 22 000 left. However, this was still too many in God’s eyes and 9 700 more were sent home. 300 men defeated a trained army of 135 000!
Sometimes God intentionally creates a situation for Him to do impossible math. He enjoys doing impossible math! Gideon was a timid man. He was not a leader, and he was not a soldier. His task was impossible with 32 000 men. It was unthinkable with 10 000 men. And it was plain suicide with 300 men.
It is extremely foolish to count a child of God out. And even more foolish for a child of God to give up…
God’s impossible math should have a huge impact on how His children live. God’s impossible math should shape how we respond to challenges. God’s impossible math should keep our focus on Him and not on what is against us.
Joshua in great triumph led the people of Israel into Canaan and ransacked the capital city of Jericho. Each tribe were then allocated a part of Canaan to live in. The catch was that they had to conquer the people already living there and they had to do this by themselves, not with the whole army. Many failed at this and ended up sharing land with people that had no reason to like them. It was a disastrous situation that created pain and conflict for many generations.
Caleb was 85 at this stage (Jos 14) and the oldest man in Israel together with Joshua. He and his tribe were allocated possibly the most difficult area to conquer. It was hill country with strong, fortified cities. Caleb knew this from his scouting mission with Joshua 45 years earlier. He also knew that God had given him the land. And that God was with him.
They conquered every city in that region and he and his descendants lived in peace for many, many generations. I think people who know their God should go for the greater challenge every single time!
When you know that God is on your side…
- you share your last meal,
- you give whatever you have,
- you step out of the boat in obedience,
- you do not lose hope when your impossible task becomes even more impossible,
- you dare to choose the more difficult task.
Don’t hold on to your last whatever. Share it as He leads.
Don’t tell Him how difficult it is. Tell Him what you have in your hand to give.
Don’t look at the waves. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
Don’t despair when the impossible becomes even more impossible. Keep doing what He tells you to do.
Things become even more difficult with age. Unless you know your God and that He is with you.
We serve a God who does impossible math and responds to faith the size of a mustard seed!