Loss & Challenging Math


My parents purchased a sleeper sofa and have moved into the living room. I’m thankful. I tell folks about the 6 of us in this tiny two-bedroom apartment. And then after a few days, I realize, no. There’s only 5 of us.

Tonight I pour four little cups of chai, one for each of us. We discuss how it reminds us of horchata. And then mom says, “Do I have a cup?” I realize I poured only 4 cups because that’s what I pour at dinner, for the 4 of us. And then I cry. There’s 5 of us now but 1 is missing.

I explain what happened and my little one says that happened to her today at school. She said the assignment asked how many people are in her family. She wrote 4. But then she turned it into a math problem. 4-1=3. I marvel at her and her challenging math problem.

I was actually thinking ahead today. I learned in deployment that it’s not good to think ahead. It’s best to think only about today because Jesus is right. Today has enough troubles of it’s own. But the thought snuck in. I thought of my math major husband, how he marveled I could get the right answers but my path to get there made no earthly sense to him. And I thought, “We need you Daddy. We need you to explain calculus someday.”

I never thought adding and subtracting could be so challenging, so difficult, so heart-wrenching.

Part of me wants to end it right there.

Our culture doesn’t need any more pretty bows tied on to the end of everything. But… this pretty bow whisps through my mind as I’m tempted to hit the publish button. It’s that reminder that God’s math also makes no earthly sense.

He’s the God who narrowed down an army of thousands down to a handful of soldiers so that they’d know He was God and know He was good and know He was the One who actually won their battle. He’s the God who sends fleets of unseen angel armies to fight for you when all you see is the enemy staring you down. He’s the God who divides an impossible sea in two and then saves and multiplies all his beloved. He’s the God who fed five-thousand plus bellies with two loaves and three fish.

[That was it right? (2 loaves + 3 fish)(surrender)(unexplainable Manna from heaven) = food for all].

He did that for me once. In real life. Except hilariously and ironically… it was for a room of preschoolers and a handful of goldfish. He also did that for us with about a half cup of pasta and a prayer just recently that multiplied into more than enough for our family of four plus leftovers. Dan’s eyes grew so wide. He can testify! That was truly a wonder.

God’s math historically doesn’t add up. But His character is always true. His character always equals steadfast love and faithfulness.

So forgive the pretty (and supernaturally unseen) bow tied on to the end of this. But it’s true.

The math of loss is challenging and may never add up, but I assure you that Romans 8:28 holds true and supernaturally messes with our math and comes up positive every time.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV