by Jenae Teale

Algebra: An exercise to tax the limits of the brain.

Integers have been spinning around my head of late. I struggle to see the necessity of mastering this skill, but I’m trusting that those older than me know why I must submit to this twisting of brain cells. I’ll admit, I do enjoy it sometimes. So far one of my favorite things to do is solving formulas for a variable. It’s like a puzzle. You have to move things around and get rid of things until you have isolated the variable and its value is shown on the other side of the equals sign. Take this equation for example: 1/5(10-15x)+5=3.  In order to find the value of x we have to isolate it. To do that we have to strip it of all that surrounds it and is attached to it.

The other day I heard someone refer to our relationship to God in mathematical terms – God being the constant; us being the variable. Somewhere between peaceful sound sleep and sub-consciousness my mind (as it often does lately) started thinking about math. But this time into the equation swirled God. Suddenly it hit me. I am the variable. God is the number on the other side. Throughout my life there have been things, even good things, that have inexplicably been taken away from me. Recently it seems to be intensifying. I have felt…isolated.

Is this what I need in order to finally find my value in Him? Stripped of all that surrounds me, pulls me, and that I desire? Even that which is in and of itself good? Must I be isolated?

But the beautiful part of the equation is that whatever is done to the x is also done to the number on the other side. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are,…[And since] He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Heb 4:15; 2:18 NKJV) Every time something has to be given up, stripped away, purged, He knows how it feels because it was done to Him as well. And at the end I will find my value in Him alone.

Do you know what the meaning of Algebra is? No, it is not the above meaning. It is derived from an Arabic word al-jabr which means…restoration.

Oh God, do al-jabr in my life. Even if it means isolation!


  1. Janae,this is absolutely inspiring. As a college freshman struggling thru my algebra course, this was refreshing to me and gave me much to think and pray about. Thank you so very much for causing me to realize that my God can speak to me even through math! Amazing writing!

  2. This is superb! I read this previously on your personal blog, but now that I’m currently refreshing my algebra skills, the analogy you’ve presented sinks deeper. I love it!

  3. sweetmomma says:

    Oh this is so cool! Thank for sharing! My brother is going through some rough emotional times and is also studying Algebra in collage so I’ll have to share this with him!
    Much Love! Thanks again!

  4. This is a genius analogy! I am a huge fan of algebra anyway, but this description just brings it closer to me in a whole new way. I love it. Thank you for the encouragement. I’m pretty new to reading YLCF, and I have already found such encouragement. Keep it up, ladies! God bless.

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