Providential mathematics (or, holy ‘rithmatic)

wood 2

My dad is a mechanical engineer, a P.E. to be exact, and those from engineering schools will understand what that means.  I grew up with T-squares, and triangles, and old Boilermaker bookcovers from the 50’s.  Dad’s been retired for years, but that part of his huge legacy lives on in me, (as well as my brother, also an M.E. from Purdue, who coined the phrase, “may the Great Rhombus bend your straightedge”.) Dad, in his own brand of jocularity, once told me I could go to any university of my choosing as long as it was Purdue, and could be anything I wanted, as long as it was an engineer. slide-rule-332493_1280

HA!  Good try, Dad.  I have yet to experience a yearning for calculus.

That’s the context; here’s the story:

Mom and Dad, being the wonderful parents they were to four teenagers, were attending the annual Open House at the high school.  I guess it was Dad’s job to visit my sister’s geometry class.  (Mom had majored in sociology.)  Somewhere in the teacher’s presentation, Mr. B made the inexcusably grandiose error of saying that geometry of itself was of little value to everyday life, or something along those lines.

It’s a good thing Dad wasn’t holding his trusty slide rule.

Suffice it to say that learning to think well was important in my upbringing.  Developing an appreciation for working through a problem logically step by step (and not merely math) was a valuable skill set.  And although I’m still working on that, I imagine that logic is something God must value also, since He is its author.

Therefore, putting into practice some of those theorems, corollaries, and postulates, here’s one train of thought I find helpful. (Disclaimer: I’m not a theological mathematician, so I am willing to stand corrected–)

“O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in You.”

(Psalm 84:12)

Comparing that with:

“…for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”

(Nehemiah 8:10)

…it would seem that:

Trust→Joy→Strength (Ostensibly, the arrow is secret code for “therefore” among the Euclidean elite…personally, I had to look it up.)

So considering this from right to left, I can derive more of God’s (very needed) strength via His joy (or blessing, or rejoicing, it all points to my relationship with Him), which is invariably accentuated by increasing my trust in Him (i.e., who He says He is in relationship to me.)  An elevated trust level brings greater joy and blessing, which somehow in the heavenly equation of things, increases my strength to do His work more effectively.

And, if I remember anything from my school days in math class (which isn’t much), it’s generally smart to start at the beginning of the problem.

The real “problem”, however, is that we oftentimes leave God out the equation altogether. 


New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Author: dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

7 thoughts on “Providential mathematics (or, holy ‘rithmatic)”

  1. I would say one of our biggest downfalls as humans is our propensity to want to “do it ourselve. What a wonderful reminder that not only do we not need to do it ourselves, we aren’t supposed to.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will admit that it was very difficult to get myself to read this post. However, I said, “Self, you need to read this, math or no math.” So, Self agreed, and we struggled through till the end. Fortunately, unlike my geometry class in high school, I understood it. Yes, trust is where it all starts…or squares…or something.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can be – when the only blue hair in the audience is dyed that way. All the rest of the times I get a tongue lashing. I mean, what’s wrong with the pastor firing bottle rockets in the church gym?

        Liked by 1 person

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