The Miracle of Multiplication

The Miracle of Multiplication

I always thought it was just me… until I started seeing the memes of a child with a tear stain face sitting at a 90s era kitchen table with the blurb “what’s 8×7” the child opening their mouth and crying “I just don’t know!”. That was me! Math is not my strong suit. Getting my report card at the end of the year I was confused because I’ve wholeheartedly believed that the C+, the C+ and the C+ that I’d gotten over the past 3 quarters would definitely average out to a B. But as I have grown up I have realized that multiplication is not that hard! (I mean… it’s still not easy)  It’s not only something you can memorize but because it’s something that makes sense. For example if I have two 6’s that just means I need to add six together 6+6=12 or  2×6=12. I’m sure that was explained to me quite well by the multitude of disappointed math teachers, tutors and frustrated parents, however, my own analytic brain just could not seem to grasp the concept of multiplication until… well… how old am I? Let's not even get into the idea of geometry. 

This morning I was thinking about numbers and I was thinking about my son… my one child, my only child. I felt a wave of grief come over me, a grief of the children I’ve never had, and will never have. (Please I know that I am beyond blessed- so please don’t get me wrong, I ache for those who long for children who are unable) Growing up I always wanted a big family. I wanted kids similar to numbers on Noah’s Ark 2 x 2, thinking that it was a good idea to have four children… having no idea about the cost of sneakers, braces and Christmas once you get past the “hot wheels age”. At 23 years old I remember driving home from the doctor's appointment where my OBGYN told me I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. She handed me the brochure and said that they can run more tests to be sure, but she said she believed that it would be very hard for me to conceive a child someday. When she handed me a pamphlet with information the words unable to have children stood out to me like wildfire in a snow covered valley. I remember showing my husband, who was my fiancé  at the time-I remember him saying that we would deal with it when we needed to.  So I put it out of my mind, although it stayed in my heart. Five years later, my son was born. My miracle. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my story. He was eight months old and I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, which may not completely prohibit me from having more children, however, the medication that I’ve been taking for the past seven years has been so detrimental to my body, and would also harm an unborn fetus. I thought about all the joy that our son has brought to our lives. How wonderful he is with other children and his cousins. How sad that our home will never again be filled with the laughter of another baby (sans our nephews and cross our fingers future nieces and nephews). Then it hit me… Over the past ten years I have had so many “children” in my life. Students from the youth group my husband and I piled in our car to go camping at Point Fest- A Christian Music Festival at Cedar Point in Ohio, or the hundreds of students who passed through my classroom. The students who came back to visit after “surviving” my class, the ones who never had me as their teacher but spent their free periods with me, the ones who I fed breakfast, comforted, and listened to.  The ones who ate lunch with me, or came to talk about breakups, family problems, their faith and their future even long after they graduated. The ones I still speak to. The students I meet each week at youth services and get to know during bible studies on Sunday mornings. And then that wave of grief transformed to a wave of pure gratitude and thankfulness for a savior who answers every prayer in his own way. The prayer of Dear Lord Jesus please give me children to love, to care for, to raise, to help, to guide… it was answered. I didn’t have to change all of their diapers… praise Jesus… but I did have the blessing of loving each and every one of them. I would count… but you know math. But since I taught in schools where I taught semester classes (I had two groups of students each year, plus co-teaching instead of having 30 students we would have 60 per class)… the number definitely is in the thousands… upwards of 6 thousand over the past 12 years. 

Honestly, as crazy as it sounds, it’s like the same with a good TV show: my guilty pleasure, mysteries, crime solving stories that are not too scary or gruesome…more like a good dramedy (drama plus comedy) that I could watch the lights off if I wanted. I love solving mysteries. I'm even jokingly referred to as detective Danielle in my home! I love to figure things out and find answers why. After watching seven or eight seasons of a good show, which include 18 episodes each… I’ll let you do the math…I find myself unreasonably sad when the last season ends. I grieve over the characters, the storyline, the plot; almost as if the characters were my own personal friends. I grieve all of the adventures we went on, the criminals we caught and the crimes we solved. (yes… I said we!) But then… I find a new series; and after a few episodes I’m hooked again; I have a new set of “friends” with new adventures to go on and mysteries to solve. And now there are an unlimited number of crime mysteries I can choose from on the 47 different streaming platforms. 

I realized when it comes to children and crime shows… I am blessed by this incredible miracle of multiplication and it reminded me that this isn’t something new. Jesus has been performing the miracle of multiplication since that one wedding ran out of wine. It’s like the loaves and the fish… a miracle, so good Jesus performed it twice! Not only did Jesus provide food for their physical bodies but their souls. Jesus said “you give them something to eat” but he fed their souls, “he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”. (Mark Chapter 6) And We know that our heavenly father gives us immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine… not just more… but immeasurably more. The immeasurably more means… abundantly above, infinitely more, exceedingly above, above and beyond more than we can even dare to imagine. Not only was there enough fish to feed over five thousand men, not including women and children (this is the story in Mark 6… he also feeds another four plus thousand in Mark 8) but there was…abundantly more left over… 12 baskets… one for each of his treasured disciples. Now if you are like me and are naturally curious… you’re like…what type of baskets are we talking about here? Ikea? Container Store? Large? Small? Let me assure you… this is not your grandmother’s tupperware. But recently I have been blessed with a beautiful Bible commentary set, which combined with Google aided my research. According to the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) when Jesus fed the 5,000+ there were 12 Kophinos Baskets left over.  Kophinos is a greek word which translates to a basket, a wicker basket to be precise, which would be ⅗ of a bushell or the size of a large backpack or a five gallon bucket today. (Don’t worry… Google handled the math) And recorded in Matthew and Mark, when Jesus fed 4,000+ there were seven Spuris left over. A spuris is a large flexible, man sized basket… when our friend Paul was lowered over the wall to escape the angry crowds in Damascus…it was in a spuris (2 Corinthians Chapter 11). Could you imagine not having any food… then having seven man sized baskets of leftovers! I legit cheer out loud when we don’t eat all the Chinese takeout and I can have a few extra bites of lo mein and boneless ribs for a snack! But that’s just the wonder of our heavenly Father; even when we don’t see it… God provides immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine. We just need to believe that he will… we need to have faith as small as a mustard seed that our heavenly Father will indeed provide in his own way… not always our way. When Moses led his people out of Egypt they wandered through the Desert (known as the desert of sin); a vast hostile environment of sand and stone they ran out of food. When the people began to complain, doubting God’s purpose and call on their lives, hungry and scared… God sent bread and quail from heaven. Exodus chapter 16 tells us that “everyone had gathered just as much as they needed”. God didn’t stock their pantry, he didn’t give them extra in case a 2020 sized pandemic hit… he provided enough for each day for their 40 year journey through the wilderness! His mercies were and still are new every morning!

There are examples of this amazing miracle of multiplication all throughout the old and new testaments! Like when Elijah a mighty prophet of the Lord multiplied flour and oil to save a widow and her son from starvation or where Elisha (Elijah’s protege) ensured that the widow would have enough oil to sell to pay off her debts and enough left over for her and her son’s to live off of… or the miracle when he fed a hundred men with only twenty loaves of bread with some left over. I could keep going… but I think you get the point. I am so thankful for a God who will always do immeasurably more than I ask or imagine. I am thankful for a God who performs miracles. And I am thankful for the miracle of multiplication.

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1 comment

Danielle, this is amazing, just like all of your other blogs. One day, you’re going to put them all together and publish your first book.


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