By the Numbers

By the NumbersJoining the ranks of the text savvy, our family belongs to a thread that links sixteen of our family members, which includes our five oldest grandchildren. Because hundreds and thousands of miles physically separate most of us, it serves to keep us connected with picture posts and weekly, if not daily news bites and quips from each of our members. Though many might lament the misuse of cell phones as a detriment to personal relationships, myself included, this is one positive way that we have of staying close to each other.

The five grandkids mentioned just spent a week together at the home of the two living in southern California. They have not had much time together over the last several years, so the visit gave them a great opportunity to share a part of themselves not previously known, including their strengths, talents, and gifts. Along with visits to the beach and local tourist attractions—hiking, singing and guitar jams, hairdo sessions for the girls, games, and compelling sleight of hand—were all a part of their special, but all too short, days together. Anthony, the second oldest, decided to show Kori, the older cousin by only five days, his mastery of calculus, displaying a highly intricate equation on the chalkboard relating to perspective and the perception that an object is getting larger as one moves closer to it. (Huh?) His Aunt Robyn took a picture of it and put it on the text thread. My comment was, “I am in awe!” and I should have said, “That just went way over my head!” Of course, my husband the systems engineer, understood it, and he and Anthony went back and forth discussing it. A few of us made suggestions as to perhaps what Anthony could discover for the practical benefit of humanity some day such as a time machine, a teleportation machine, and a self-cleaning house. The cutest response was from twelve-year-old, Josie, Anthony’s sister and the tween on the trip. She piped in with, “2 x 2=4,” which was probably the most clever contribution any of the rest of us could make.
All these facts and figures have caused me to think about the One who has had them perfectly calculated and solved before time began. In fact, God is the one who came up with it all! He knows exactly what position the planets, sun, moon, and stars need to be to keep them in perfect alignment and in working order. He does the same for the human body, for all of the plant and animal kingdom, bodies of water, and the earth’s landmasses. He keeps the air at the exact proportion of the correct gasses to sustain life here. Even beyond Anthony’s understanding of the intellectual equation, God is the one who brought it into being, and his intelligence and knowledge are mind-boggling!
Under severe testing, by God’s permission but by Satan’s actions, compounded by the merciless judgment of his friends, Job, a righteous man, wonders why he is enduring such difficult trials. He hears from the Lord out of a whirlwind, and God lays out the facts about his intricate involvement in every facet of creation and his sustainment of it. “‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements-surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?’” “‘Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth? Declare, if you know all this. Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness, that you may take it to its territory and that you may discern the paths to its home?’” (Job 38:4–7, 18–20, ESV). God further gave information about his knowledge and control over the animal kingdom, the oceans, the heavens, life and death. God helped Job understand his greatness and how there is nothing that escapes his view and nothing that he can’t accomplish.
I am still in awe of Anthony’s ability to understand and share that equation, as I am in awe of all the wonderful gifts and talents my grandchildren possess. (Isn’t every grandmother?) But I am so much more in awe of the God who brought all the facts and figures and numbers into being and who continues to hold everything together. It has led me to the conclusion that the greatest number-related statement is contained in a prayer in the book of Psalms: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, ESV). Let’s live each of our days wisely, loving and serving the Lord and each other. In God’s perspective, that is the equation for optimal living.
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