I heard some data yesterday morning about how many homeless there are living in our city. After giving us the numbers the speaker promptly remarked on how inaccurate those numbers were. She spoke of the skewed number-collecting. For example, if a man who is, for all intents and purposes, homeless, but is in jail the night before homeless data is collected, he is not counted as homeless. Children who live outside their biological parents’ home or who live in a mobile home are counted as homeless, even though they have a bed to sleep on every night.
What this did for me was confirm what I’ve been thinking for the past couple weeks: numbers lie.
I love math. I took stats in college and I loved it, got an A+. I spent about 15 minutes of a Skype call last weekend trying to convince someone of the likelihood of this and that, all based on numbers from very credible studies and scientists. But still, I couldn’t shake the idea: numbers lie.
Numbers lie when you have a high school student population of only 700, yet you give them 2.5 school psychologists. Why? That small of a high school should warrant only 1, maybe 1.5, based on number standards across the nation’s educational systems. Well, they have 2.5 school psychologists because of the suicides, attempted suicides and domestic violence cases the school has seen in the last 10 years.
Numbers lie when a 21 year old young man is diagnosed with Stage 4 Nasal Cancer and is given a 50/50 shot of death (not of being cured, of dying) even after his 70+ rounds of radiation and about 10 rounds of chemo are completed. But the doctors go in to check out the tumor that was left around his ocular nerves, and he is 100% cancer free and lives a full life today. (Lynette Lewis, founder of Stop Child Trafficking Now, shared this story of her son this weekend at my church).
I am not discounting the mother who has been told devastating news, based on statistics and odds, about her unborn child. I am not discounting the families who have lost loved ones because the numbers didn’t lie; there was a bad prognosis and it played out right in front of their very eyes. I am not discounting likelihoods. Bad stuff happens, I get it. I studied Sociology in undergraduate, and most of that degree is based on generalities of various culture pockets, and those generalities are based on… studies and statistics.
But what I am doing is saying that I believe in a God who is 100% faithful. I believe in an omnipresent God of the universe who cares about His people, who walks through the suffering with us, who carries us in our despair, and who rejoices in our victories. Life doesn’t always turn out the way we think it’s going to or the way we want it to go. But when I start spending time around people who are amped up by beating the odds, it makes me see things differently. When I sit in front of people who believe through their broken heart, I am energized. I hope you have people like that in your life today. Because they’re the ones that will remind you that even when the odds aren’t in our favor, God wins every time. Every. Time.
You tell me:
What odds have you beaten? Did people tell you, “You’ll never …” or did people encourage you with, “You can do this!”?