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Math. Definitely not my favorite subject. I didn’t like math as a student, I didn’t like math when I home schooled my kids, and I don’t like math as a substitute teacher in the local public high school where I work. So why do I keep getting called to math classes?

Recently, the principal called me to do an extended subbing job. I was excited at the prospect of getting extra work and pictured myself in a history classroom, or English, or maybe even science. And then the principal said it. Math. I heard my physical voice saying, “Sure, that will be fine.” But I heard my inner voice shreaking, “Ohhhhh…not math…again!"

Why was this happening to me? This wasn’t the first time either. When I worked as an aide, it was for a math teacher. When I worked as a tutor, it was in math. My degree is in English, but for some reason, that subject rarely ends up on my schedule. So, as I accepted the math position, I went to bed filled with fear and anxiety at what I had just gotten myself into, because you see, not only do I dislike math, math dislikes me! I’m not a natural with numbers, and I have to work very hard at it.

Depending on Him

When I finally went to sleep, I ended up having anxiety-induced dreams and woke up the next morning restless and wondering what in the world I was going to do. Then I did what I always know I should do, but don’t always do immediately. I prayed. Deeply. Fervently. First, I asked God why I was called to a job that I am not qualified in the least for. Then I asked what I was supposed to do about it. As I prayed, I felt a peace come over me and a voice inside my head that didn’t sound like my own. It clearly asked, “Gwen, has it occurred to you that I might put you in a position of discomfort or even inadequacy on purpose? Did you ever think that you might depend on me more at times when you can no longer depend on yourself?” Then I remembered the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 which say, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness.” Suddenly, I realized that maybe it hasn’t been the principal or the teachers who were calling me to math classes after all. Maybe it was God doing the calling. 

Immediately, the matter was settled and the inner anxiety was deflated. I recognized that God is the one with the power and I’m the one who is weak. Especially in math! So, this experience, like so many others in my life would be just one more opportunity to trust God.

What a privilege for all of us to be weak. To be helpless. Because every time we find ourselves powerless, we are being presented with the gift of one more opportunity to trust God’s power. It’s actually a pretty simple equation. Human weakness + God’s grace = power. Even I can figure that one out.

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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