A simple but often overlooked mathematical concept called Parabola Focus reveals that solutions are found in unexpected places. In this post we discuss:
- The root of parables
- The Parabola of the Cross
- Parabola Focus is positive
- How can we gain Parabola Focus?
- Star of Wonder, Star of Night!
The root of parables
“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” Moreover, those who trust in Him can place full confidence in His promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Proverbs 15:3, Psalm 32:8) 1.
Perhaps the reason we are seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) and can hear God speak to us through Scripture, prophecy, parables, dreams and many other routes is to encourage us to keep watch and stay focused.
Interestingly, the Greek parabolê (“placing side by” or “comparison”) is the root origin of the word parable as well as parabola. I wondered, Since God speaks through parables, does He also speak through parabolas?
The Parabola of the Cross
A parabola is a symmetrical curve that tracks midway between a single fixed point (focus) and a fixed line(directive). We can create a parabola simply by throwing a stone in the air and watching it land in another place. Other examples are seen in the St. Louis Arch, the trajectory of a ballistic missile, and a rainbow (a sign of God’s covenant with the earth (Genesis 9:13).
Parts of Parabola
In this graphic of a parabola, we can see a cross standing on a horizontal ground (the x-axis) called the directrix. The vertical line of the cross, called the axis of symmetry (or the y-axis of the graph), intersects with the horizontal latus rectum at a point called the “focus.” Points on the blue curve are always the same distance away from the focus and the directive.
Parabola Focus is positive
If x is any point along the directrix, the solution (points on the curve) y is always a positive number. Whether x is positive or negative makes no difference because the solution is always positive!
The Holy Spirit confirmed this truth with Scripture: It does not matter if a situation looks positive or negative. When we “focus” on Lord Jesus, the solution (the answer) will always be positive! (Adapted from Parables, Dreams & Encounters2)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “This is the road! Now follow it.” (Isaiah 30:21, CEV)
How can we gain Parabola Focus?
We learn to see as God sees by loving His Word (the Scriptures) and hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit. Additionally, here are 3 tools to help us stay focused:
1. Practice thankfulness / gratitude.
Thankfulness is not a common response to unconscionable loss, grief or opposition. However, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Clearly, this ability exceeds our natural will or aptitude. We can be assured that it is the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us and who reminds us of the Words of the Lord. Only then can we become equipped to make the choice to be thankful and to embrace His joy. For God has promised,
“I will never desert you, nor will I ever abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5, NASB)
2. Remember unique spiritual experiences.
It is also important to remember how and when God demonstrated His faithfulness in the past, because these experiences help to build our trust in Him.
The Scriptures tell us that before he faced Goliath, a young King David remembered how God had given him victory over a lion and a bear.
As an example, several years ago I became aware of a little “wound” behind my heart that only hurt when I was very upset. It was more of a discomfort, like a paper cut, than actual pain. At a prayer meeting one night, something unusual happened. A hot “finger” suddenly entered my chest, reached behind my heart and with pinpoint precision it cauterized the wound. Seconds later, the pain was completely gone and never recurred. Lord, how did You know? I silently marveled. No one at the meeting knew about it or even lay hands on me. The host had simply invited the Holy Spirit to come and minister. He came! That experience is one of my many reminders of just how faithful and compassionate the Holy Spirit is. We can be completely assured that whatever concerns us, also concerns Him.
3. Be courageous in the dark.
We all encounter spiritual warfare and reasons to be afraid. Evil spirits often work through unkind people or unpleasant circumstances. Still, we should remember that God is with us. He fears nothing and no one.
Being courageous does not mean being fearless. Rather, courage is showing strength despite being afraid, even when that darkness comes unseen.
A few weeks ago, and several hours before dawn, sleep suddenly deserted me. Rather than worry about facing an extended workday, I chose to do something more constructive: Pray. I had just begun when a guttural growling sound breached the wall behind my bed. I am sure there are no wildebeests running around our suburbs, so the source was definitely spiritual.
At first startled, but then annoyed at the interruption, I shifted my focus back to the Lord. After all, it seemed irreverent to entertain something so inferior in the presence of the King of kings. I mentally resolved to do battle against “it” later for invading my space. Well, whatever “it” was promptly vanished, just as God promises in James 4:7.
Star of Wonder, Star of Night!
If you are reading this and are facing opposition or bothered by some sort of spiritual darkness, the following recent vision may offer hope.
Briefly, I saw a night that was so dark that it was difficult to discern the landscape, a wall and some darkened mountains in the distant background. In the sky above shone a brilliant star. It was so large and so bright that I immediately thought of the Bethlehem star.
I believe God is speaking of Isaiah 60:1-2, and He confirmed this from other sources. When the Lord Jesus first came, there was great darkness. So even now as darkness encroaches, Parabola-focus reminds us to look to His Light. Just like the Bethlehem Star, He shines brightly when things look darkest. Unquestionably, He is the Bright and Morning Star! (Matthew 4:16, Revelation 22:16).
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8).
In summary, to put confidence in what we think or feel or in those who are spiritually blind may be confidence misplaced (Psalm 1:1-2). But, as we keep God’s Word in our hearts and choose to focus on His Light (Jesus), we will see from His perspective and can be assured that, as is true for the parabola, the solution will always be positive. Amen!
2Robinson, J. (2019). Parables, dreams & encounters: Understanding God’s language and symbols for your discernment, deliverance and destiny. Author.