The Word Equation

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I find comfort in absolutes. They help me understand my world, and if I’m honest, it’s how I try to control it. That’s why I was always drawn to math and science growing up. There are formulas that give you the “always” relationship between items. That way you can predict the outcome when one of the variables changes. You know what to expect. No surprises. Order.

Despite growing up in the church and hearing my whole life about how God loves me and gives good gifts to His children (James 1:17, Matt. 7:11), it’s remained a challenge to lean into the unknown, trusting His goodness. I’m forced to reluctantly accept that God doesn’t let me limit Him to formulas. It’s a lesson I have to keep learning, usually the hard way. One that requires faith. One that brings a choice: trust and keep walking or try some other “absolute”. Despite times of doubt, anger, and entitlement, I’ve never been sold on a better version of truth to subscribe to than God’s love and walking forward trusting His faithfulness.

But over time I’ve realized it’s not just a big swirl of “who knows” when trying to walk with God. I mean, it is, but it’s not completely…for me anyway. If I’m honest with myself, I do see a formula. I see a consistent, even predictable, pattern of behavior when certain variables change. And I’m sure I’m not the first to realize this pattern since the funny thing is, the Bible itself predicts it, over and over again. Whether it requires real faith to believe I’m not sure, because the evidence is there, plain as day.  Any legit scientist could see with only minimal observation.

What I’m talking about is, His Word and my life. Those are the variables. The result on the other side of that equal sign is directly proportional to whether the variables are added or subtracted, if you know what I mean. The longer I go without spending time reading and reflecting on the Word of God, the more those around me suffer. All the remnants of my human nature rise to the surface: prone to anger, terse words, lack of grace for others or myself. On top of that, the fiery arrows from the Father of Lies start to land and burn holes in my contentment. The mom guilt, the female insecurity, the list of “I wish my spouse did/was…” starts to win. I wish I were exaggerating, but no one likes the “me” without the Word. I dislike her the most.

Because the Truth is, God’s Word IS living and active (Heb. 4:12).  It IS sharper than a double-edged sword, and I need it, y’all, so desperately, to lop off all that mess. I need it in order to stand on the rock (Matt. 7:24). I need the seeds planted in my soul that do not return void (Isa. 55:11).

For any other answer-lovers like me, constantly asking God what His will is for my life, begging God to speak to them, it IS His answer.  It’s 66 books that tell who He is and how He works. In turn, it tells us who we are and what His plan is for humanity. As a science mind, I’ve found no better source for the answers.

Think of it like this. A new type of cell phone is invented. It has tons of apps and specs and innovative features. Who is going to know best how to get the most out of that phone, how to use it to its fullest potential? The designer. How will you as the consumer learn how that phone was intended to perform? You’ll read the manual. Now let’s be real, no one reads cell phone manuals, but you get the point, right? God designed us. He went to great lengths (John 3:16) to afford us a relationship with Him despite our sin and His holiness. Do you not want the most out of this life? I do. He says it’s not even available apart from Him. John 10:10 says HE has come to give you abundant life; where else are you going to try and find it?

But I keep trying. I keep subtracting His Word from the equation, and the other side of my equal sign comes up empty. Every. Time. I then start to evaluate my circumstance and realize what’s missing.

When I add back time in His Word, even just consistently reading for a few minutes each day, I begin to see a steadying. The lies aren’t so loud. I see reasons for joy in my present. I see others and opportunities to be present with them. I’m more prone to pray. I’m more alive instead of surviving or passing time.

For me, it’s more than just a theory. It’s been tested and proven.

His Word = Life well-lived.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 English Standard Version (ESV)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.