Choosing the Right Weapon

By Cathy Smith  

 Most battles can be won or lost in the choosing of our weapon(s).  In our spiritual battles, God has given us weapons to use.  Joseph fled (Genesis 39:11-12).  We have only one offensive weapon – the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).  Wisdom God gives so we can discern when to use which! (James 1:5).  Although math is not a battle (or is it?), we need to know which tools are available and have the wisdom to know which is best in the given situation.

 I am often asked by students (and even their parents) why we teach higher-level math classes to our students.  The, “When are we ever going to use this stuff?” question is one that deserves an answer.  The fact is, math offers us the opportunity to learn to think with wisdom and efficiency.  The problem-solving skills we practice and learn work on all kinds of problems – including the ones found in math classes.  Our math toolbox has innumerable formulas, theorems, postulates, and techniques we are supposed to recognize and know how to use.

 We are currently learning to solve equations in college algebra.  While the objective is the same in all cases, the techniques vary considerably.  In order to employ the best technique, we need to be able to identity the situation and wisely choose the best strategy to get there.   Quadratic equations have four (at least we only study four methods in college algebra) techniques for solving.  It is imperative that we analyze the equation first to determine which technique is best.   If I understand what the problem is and know the best technique to use, I am set up for success.  

 In our humanity, our flesh is incredibly lazy!  We want quick solutions with just a few steps.  Trust me on this one – I hear this a lot!!!!  The truth is, however, not all problems have quick, easy solutions.  Paul admonished us to beat the flesh into submission (I Corinthians 9:27).  I must not always insist on an easy way in life – OR – when learning math.   Through math, God has given us a practical way to look at solving problems.   The more we practice these problem-solving skills, the better we are at solving problems universally.  But, the worst math problems of all are the ones that have no solution!  

 Sadly, life can bring situations for which there are no good solutions (as far as we can see).  This is where faith comes in!  Although we sometimes have to give “no solution” in our math class, we never have to face that in life.  God ALWAYS has a way!  Jesus is the WAY, the truth and the life (John 14:6).  When problems seem to have no solutions,  we are instructed to look to Him and trust His way.  We are promised that “All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  

If that only worked in MATH class!!!!!

Math Professor Cathy Smith with a student at graduation.