Thursday, October 19, 2006

Statistics are just numbers...

Well, this has become my new motto. Statistics are just numbers and are subject to the bias of the interpreter!

What I mean is this--often we are given statistics to measure a level of risk. Risk of having a certain disease, risk of an accident, risk of winning the lottery (well, maybe you wouldn't use the word "risk" in that situation), and so on.

The problem is that we often use statistics (doctors included) to predict the future. Statistics do NOT predict the future. They only show something interesting--a correlation of data--about the past.

When you put your faith in numbers, the numbers will betray you. If you use numbers/statistics to predict the future, you will end up disappointed when the tides turn and in spite of "statistics" your chances of enduring a particular situation are 100%.

I have had 5 "perfect" pregnancies, and 5 healthy children. My mother has warned me that I should stop while I'm ahead. She has a belief that the numbers will catch up to me--that it will be my turn. I have heard recently that 1 in 4 or 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Well, I guess I have defied those odds. So does it mean that I am doomed to have a miscarriage soon if I continue to acheive pregnancy? No. Statistics do not predict the future. Remember? My mother also says something about "dipping too far into the gene pool." This is another topic, but I know what she means. She is basically warning me that eventually I will have a handicapped child.

From a Christian worldview, this faith in statistics is all wrong. We do live in a fallen sinful world. It is true that there are damaged genes, and when parents who have damaged genes conceive, they will give birth to children who have damaged genes or are at least carriers of the damaged genetic code, and will so keep multiplying the process. But somewhere along the way we forget what God says in his Word:

"Psalm 139
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Was this true only when there were less damaged genes? Of course not. God's Word is true throughout all generations. Are you hurting because of a loss? Are the doctors telling you there is something wrong with your baby? Lean on Jesus. He not only understands your pain, he is also caring for your little one. He is the great Physician, and he may not heal him/her here for this world, but he will heal him/her to be at home with him in heaven. His works are wonderful. "I know that full well."

I am not scared of statistics. They are subject to the bias of the interpreter. Sometimes the interpreter does not have a Christian worldview. Sometimes the interpreter does not believe the words of Psalm 139. Trust in your heavenly Father, who ordained you and wrote all of your days "before one of them came to be." As the old hymn goes, "He makes all things beautiful in His time."

Do I speak with authority? You betcha. I have had enough college math classes to make normal people quiver. =D My theology? Well, most of that comes from what I just feel in my heart, and my daily experience walking with God. He has blessed my life immensely. He truely has made all things beautiful in His time.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Problem Solved!

We have been having some tight financial times here in the Theis household, just as I imagined I would a few weeks ago when I made the tough decision to quit daycare. So now we are moving into the stage where we put our faith into action and trust God just like we said we would. It is sooooo hard, let me tell you. I want an easy answer. Mitch is working a second job, teaching behind the wheel training for a local driving school. This is how it works--he tells the school when he is available to work, and when students call in to schedule a class they put him down to work. Well last Saturday he had a class cancel (so no payment), then on Tuesday night both of his classes canceled. So we lost $60 on that. Then today (Saturday), he was available to teach 3 more lessons, but didn't get a single one scheduled. So another loss of $60...or $60 not made depending on how you want to look at it. I was thinking and praying about this. Honestly, I understand that God is in control. We can't put our trust in the job, we have to put our trust in Him.

In the meantime, my doorbell rang. It was only 9:30 on a Saturday, and I thought it was odd. I noticed a nicely dressed man waiting outside. I thought it was a politician (it's that time of year). :) It was my neighbor. He asked to speak to my husband, and explained that he needed some help. I hurried up and got Mitch. They ended up talking for 2 hours! This is someone we had never met before. I stood in awe that he knew enough about us in our comings and goings to guess that we go to church and that he could ask Mitch for help. He is having some marital problems. Mitch explained his problems to me later, and I just shook my head in disbelief. The sad thing is, this guy stressed that money is not an issue for them--they have more than enough. But the other problems were gut-wrenching. Suddenly my petty money "problem" didn't seem so bad. I wouldn't trade our marriage for all the money in the world. Mitch didn't have much to say to our neighbor, just sat and listened. He did try to positively encourage him and offered some resources (Love and Respect, plus the name of a favorite counselor).

Later in the day, I was quietly contemplating our "problems" once again, and silently praying that God would send an answer. Suddenly, the thought occurred to me that if God truely is in control, then He has already sent an answer. The problem has been solved. We may not know the answer yet, and it may not be the right time to be revealed, but it IS there--it will be there when the time is right. I will take care of what I can for today, and try to look at the future with a less self-centered perspective!

Philippians 3:12-14 "12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven." [New Living Translation]

Lord knows, I am just a beggar...but I am also His child (Galatians 4). That doesn't mean that I expect Him to "bail me out" but I know that He loves me and has already extended His grace towards us.

Problem Solved!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I'm back! Get me going...

Sorry it has been so long since I have updated. Just trying to focus my energies on other interests, I guess. It doesn't take long to blog, so I will try to update more often. That is, if I think I can come up with anything anyone wants to read! ;-)

So Mitch got me good today. He said, "I know how to get you going with just one sentence." I was thinking to probably has something to do with patents. He then follows with this sentence: "George Bush patented abortion." Dude, I stood there speechless for a good 3 minutes. He said, "Well, are you going to say anything?" I finally choked out, "I'm speechless." (And believe me, that is a hard thing to do!) Does this guy know me or what? I love George Bush. I believe the patent system is corrupt. And abortion is murder. Put those 3 together, and yeah, you got me. Ugh... Well, I was reduced to laughing so hard that I couldn't even squeak out a sound. I can't believe my hubby would say something so naughty!

Have a great day...and no, George Bush didn't patent abortion. He is against it just like me. That is why, with all his faults, I still love him. He may not always make the right decisions, but when it comes to unborn human life, he's doing the right thing. *thumbs up*