“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

~ Blaise Pascal

 

Today I thought I would talk about math. Now, normally I am not someone who would gravitate to the discussion of numbers. I have never found myself particularly good at juggling them or making sense of them. Too many times, the numbers just don’t add up. No matter how hard I try, I cannot order the operations or calculate the equation so that there is a clear solution to the problem before me.

Maybe you can relate. Sometimes, life doesn’t operate in a logical sequence. Sometimes, you cannot work out the formula that will explain the reason for why things happen.

At least, your head can’t work it out.

Your heart, now, that’s an entirely different matter.

Because, as the French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal observed, your heart knows things that your mind doesn’t. When the numbers don’t add up in your head, they can still add up in your heart. In fact, when it comes to explaining the reason behind your existence, your heart may be the most intelligent organ in your body.

I realize that when I say “heart” I am speaking figuratively. I am not speaking of the heart that keeps us ticking from the day we are born until the day we die. We can explain that heart. We can cut it open, dissect it, and analyze it under a microscope. We can see it. We can listen to it. We can even hold it in our hands.

No, I am not talking about that heart. That heart adds up. I am talking about the heart that the head can spend its whole life trying to understand without success. I am talking about the heart that holds the mysteries of life–the reason for our existence. That heart does not always add up. It’s a problem that every person has to solve for him or herself.

Because, when our literal heart stops beating, it is the figurative heart that continues to haunt us. What happens to that essence, to that indefinable being–that person who was always so much more than just the sum of his or her biological parts?

We are left with an infinite remainder. The equation does not work itself out neatly. The questions it creates go on, and on, and on…

People respond to this math problem differently. Some choose to ignore it. Some choose science. Some choose the universe. Some choose religion.

Pascal chose Jesus.

In response to the problem, he created a wager. He took a gamble on God’s existence. He figured that, if he was wrong, he had little to lose, but if he was right, he had everything to gain.

Of course, a lot of people have bet against Pascal and the God he chose to believe in. In today’s culture, there is a lot of betting going on. Science bets against religion, and religion bets against science. Religions bet against other religions. People are constantly calculating statistics on which is winning and which is losing.

All I know is, that my heart sees this and it hurts. What started as a quest for beauty became a quest for destruction. People stopped gambling on God and started gambling with each other’s lives. They started hating and hurting. And that is when we all lose.

As a Christian who, like Pascal, has bet her life on Jesus, I have chosen to put my faith in God. My heart believes in the existence of a higher power, but it also believes that it has the freedom to choose that belief. I respect others’ right to disagree with my decision, just as I hope they will respect mine.

In betting on God, I am not betting against anybody else. On the contrary, I am looking at the “hearts” of those I meet everyday and adding up the truth that such beauty is not an accident. I am counting the acts of love, the tears, the lives, and the moments where the remainder of existence are felt so strongly that the solution becomes clear.

“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.”

I have my reasons and I trust you have yours. And it is my hope that if we ever meet our hearts will be full of nothing but love for each other. Because love for mankind, that is something we all need to bet on.