Today we are thrilled to have Judah Smith, author of Jesus Is ___ and Jesus Is ___ Student Edition, as a guest blogger!
I have friends who like math. I used to think they were faking it just to look smart, but now I’ve realized it’s not an act. While the rest of us enjoy sports and movies and hanging out with friends, these people find happiness in adding and subtracting and solving and resolving. They say they like it because it’s predictable: you get the same result every time you solve a problem. That’s exactly why I don’t like math: I get a different result every time. Numbers and I don’t really get along. But there is something even worse than numbers in math: letters in math.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Why would you take letters—which were meant to form words and sentences and paragraphs—and make them do the job of numbers? When I was taking algebra, the letters confused me every time. The teacher would hand me a page with math problems. I would see numbers and symbols, which was bad enough. But then I would come across an n or an x. It always seemed so out of place. And I would think, Hey there, little buddy, you’re in the wrong class. You must be looking for English Lit. That’s down this hall. This is math.
The hard part about letters is that they don’t always mean the same thing. That’s probably why they are called variables, now that I think about it—because they vary. They change their value from problem to problem. How confusing is that? Life is full of variables, in case you haven’t noticed. There are more unknowns than knowns. There are more variables than constants. There are more possible outcomes than anyone could predict, no matter how smart he or she is. In the midst of the confusion, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what is really true. Who am I? Why am I here? Who is God? What is life all about?
If you’ve asked yourself questions like that, you’re not alone—every human on the planet has been there. I can’t answer all your questions. But I can point you to the one who can answer them. I’ve come to realize that the answer to the variables of life is to discover the one true constant: Jesus. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Jesus never changes. He never fluctuates. He never varies. There’s something so restful, so calming, and so secure about knowing that Jesus loves me and will never leave me. Even in the middle of crazy circumstances and confusing emotions, when I think about Jesus, I find peace. Things start to make sense.
I flunked pre-algebra multiple times. True story. Eventually, I passed, to the relief of my parents, and moved on with life. My kids are growing up, though, and I’m afraid algebra is going to come back to haunt me. At least I’m married to a very smart woman. “Go ask your mom, kids,” is going to be my motto. I may not be the smartest guy around, but I do have one thing figured out. As long as I know Jesus, life makes sense.
Judah Smith and his wife, Chelsea, are the lead pastors of the City Church in Seattle, Washington. The author of the New York Times bestseller Jesus Is ____, Judah is in high demand as a speaker in the United States and abroad. He and Chelsea have three children: Zion, Eliott, and Grace.