Third grade math was a blast. We kids competed like Olympians when Miss Barbara passed out the timed drills. We knew what equaled what and we sported paper crowns to prove it. Then came the big bump in the road: inequalities. That meant slowing down to compare objects and figure out which was larger and which was smaller, however similar. Gone were the crisp parallel lines. In came the arrowheads, pointy ends accusing the smaller and open arms reaching for the larger.
The memories of early math days tumbled back this week when I came across a paper headed “God is Greater Than.” GOD marked the left side of the page and a few things that turn most of our heads were on the right. I took the liberty of lengthening the right hand column.
Just one of the right side items can feel like a weight only a truck scales could handle. Add the jumble together and they could sink the earth right out its orbit. And then I remember this God, the God of Scripture, God alone, measures the universe in the hollow of His hand like I used to cradle tad poles weighing slightly more than a speck back in third grade.
Someone has said writing requires reverence, really seeing and being awed by the wonders everywhere around us. No doubt. I drive blind through a lot of life, one day plowing down the interstate of fear and confusion and the next day turning off to feast my eyes on every scenic bend in the route to achievement.
Writing forces me to repent. Writing demands me to pull the car over right now and do a one-eighty whether I’m stewing on all that has gone, is going, or will go wrong or delighting in successes I can see for miles. Writing insists on the about-face, turning the back on both the worst and the best. Only then are any of us free to face square into God.
And then we’ll get it right as any child. We’ll draw the pointy end toward ourselves and all that concerns us and draw long arms sporting a very wide angle toward God, who is greater than all.