Conquering Calculus Through Prayer

Conquering Calculus Through Prayer

Sep 23, 2013

Conquering Calculus Through Prayer

by Seth Osborn


There I was at the Youth Interest Committee meeting during this summer’s Seventh Day Baptist General Conference. Last year, someone else had also wanted to be Beacon editor but let me take it—so long as she could have the position the next year. 2013 arrived and she had changed her mind.

“What a blessing!” I thought. I had been saddened by the fact that my time as a Beacon editor was drawing to a close. Though I struggled with the writing sometimes—often needing to crunch to submit an article days after it was supposed to be due (Sorry, Kevin!)—I still thoroughly enjoyed being able to share my thoughts with people, some people being close to me already and others I may not ever meet.

It’s an honor to be used by God in such a way, and I was more than happy to volunteer as Beacon editor again.

Then I got home and sat down to write my first article. Nothing. My mind was completely blank.

Okay, I thought. I can look through last year’s articles to get an idea of what I’ve already written about and what else I can write. I skimmed each of the articles from last year, getting the general ideas and trying to think of topics that were far enough away that I wouldn’t feel like I was just rewriting the same article again. Still nothing.

So I put the article off for a while. Maybe if I just take a break from it, I’ll get an idea. The break turned into a couple of days, into a week, and longer and longer until finally I was past the deadline yet again.

I later realized the problem: I was trying to write something through my own strength. Instead of allowing God to work through me, I was trying to think of something on my own. This is one of our biggest flaws as humans. We’re too proud to step aside and let God do the work. If something goes terribly wrong—something completely beyond our control—then we’re more than happy to step aside. “You can take this one, God. My power isn’t big enough to handle this.” But what about the smaller things?


p18 Beacon calculus CLR


At the end of the first week of school, we took a math quiz in Calculus class. It was review from last year, just to make sure we still remembered the really important stuff. I zipped through the multiple choice side of the test, then turned to the free response side.

I tackled the easier problems first, but still found myself struggling with two or three of them. I stared at them for a couple of minutes, thinking about what maneuvers to take in order to find the solution. Nothing. Then something clicked in my brain.

“Dear God, please help me on this test.” It’s just a test. I can do it on my own. Why should I need to ask God for help? But a few minutes later, I thought of a way to solve one of the problems I skipped. And then another. I finished the test with only one problem that I felt uncertain about.

We need to be willing to surrender everything to the Lord. You may have the power to do something on your own, but that doesn’t mean He can’t help you. According to Proverbs 16:1, “To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.” We can plan all we want, but we’ll never get as far on our own as we will when we finally surrender everything to God.

So I urge you to allow God to control you. He’ll take you to a much better place than you could ever hope to achieve by your own hand.

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