Long division. You, like most others, probably just cringed. Let’s face it, who really liked long division? Actually … I did. Haha. There was something intriguing about it for me. I was blessed and fortunate … for as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved math. Any kind of math. All kinds of math. Including long division. BUT, I have to say, one of the things about long division I did NOT like was remainders. You know, when you go through the process of doing the long division and you get to the end – and stop. Seriously? I can say with all sincerity that I can remember getting to the point of long division when we continued to the point of at least solving the long division to some number of decimal places. At least then you sort of finished the job. That is what I guess I hated about remainders.
It’s the same reason I get perturbed about ties in sports … like soccer or hockey (don’t even get me started about ties in football). It just doesn’t make sense. You play an entire game only to get to the end and stop. Without finishing the job. Without determining a winner or loser. Ties. Remainders. Bad.
Reading this week through Proverbs 7 – 24, 1 Kings 5 – 6, and 2 Chronicles 2 – 3 brought this to mind as it relates to God. In particular, a bit of a mosaic formed around several verses, conveying an encouragement that I hope serves to be one for you too. Following are some verses from Proverbs 10:25, 10:28, 10:30, 11:8, 11:18-19 that got me thinking …
When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation.
The hopes of the godly result in happiness, the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.
The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land.
The godly are rescued from trouble, and it falls on the wicked instead.
Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
Godly people find life; evil people find death.
When I reflected on these (and other) verses, what I was left with is a reminder that God doesn’t have remainders. What’s that? Nothing is ever “left over” with Him. Nothing goes unused. He always finishes the work. We may not know how or when it’s used but it’s always used. There are at least a couple different implications, I believe.
First, nothing that happens in our lives goes to waste. That’s one of the things with remainders that always bugged me. Here you go to all this work and you’re left with this little number that just sort of dangles out there, useless. Well the great thing with God is that whatever our plight, nothing dangles out there useless. God uses all of our circumstances, all of our situations, all of our experiences … for a purpose. For His purpose. So as we go through whatever it is we go through, we can rest in the assurance that He uses it. Not just for His purpose, but also for our blessing. Now, that’s not to say that everything that goes on will seem good or feel good or appear good. In truth, there are all sorts of things in our lives that are anything but. I get that, and I’m not trying to minimize the real treachery that any of us have gone through, are going through, or likely will go through some day. But what I am saying is … there will be no remainders. God will put every bit of it to use, and somehow, some way, some day, in His economy it will be good (Romans 8:28). But not necessarily good in the way we might want or expect.
Second, it seems to me that the fact that God doesn’t have remainders means that there is nothing in our lives that is insignificant. There are no unimportant things to God. We might think, “Oh, God doesn’t care about this or that,” but I’d have to say I disagree. It might not be that God cares about it for the reasons we would assume, but He cares about it for some reason, whether apparent or not to us. I think about “white lies” or the things that “no one will notice,” and while in some respects those are small matters, God may care because of what it says about the caliber of our character, or because of an unseen or unforeseen downstream circumstance that comes about. Let’s face it, rarely do we as temporal humans have the full perspective on what is or isn’t significant. I’d argue that it’s all significant. There are no remainders with God.
So what do we do with this? In my mind, this brings me a sense of encouragement and hopefulness. To know that the Creator of the universe and of every single living thing, cares enough about me (and you) to bring to fullness every single situation in our lives truly blows my mind. God loves us so much that never, ever, ever will He let there be a remainder in our stories. Never will He not finish the problem solving. Never will He let the seemingly insignificant number just sit there dangling. He loves us too much. Let’s face it, that’s what we see in Jesus. Never once did Jesus cut a corner. Never did He leave something undone, unhinged, incomplete. He went all the way … to a horrific death … so that you and I could go all the way … through eternity with Him and His Father and the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t just on Calvary’s hill, it was and is and forever will be always. No remainders.
Know with assurance, then, whatever you may be going through, struggling with, encountering, wondering, searching for, etc., the God of the universe is at work. He is going the distance to solve the problem – in His way – but going to the very last decimal point with NO remainders. And He’s doing it for YOU. I pray (and let’s pray for one another) that you feel that in this very moment. That you draw comfort and fortitude knowing that there will never be a remainder in our lives because of our great, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
Soli Deo gloria!