Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Common Denominator

September 1, 2009

Common Denominator

Mathematicians instruct us that a common denominator is a quantity into which all the denominators of a set of fractions may be divided without a remainder. Put more simply, a "Common" Denominator just means that the denominators (the lower part of a fraction) in two or more fractions are the same. But the term has sociological meaning, too. It describes an attribute common to all characters in a category or a shared trait; as in “Unbelievably, everyone in their family shared the common denominator of being left- handed.”

For human beings, pain is the common denominator. None of us escape its grasp. Eventually, everyone you know will walk through a season of suffering. It comes, uninvited, to the infant born with special needs and in equal measure to the senior citizen whose genetic predisposition blossoms into disease late in life. You’ll find it on the streets of Harlem as well as the mansion in Hollywood. No race, religious affiliation, or gender is exempt from its grasp. Whether you possess diplomas, trophies, stocks and funds, or great social standing; pain serves as the great equalizer. In a world full of diversity, it’s the one thing we all share.

So why do we act so surprised when we encounter pain? What makes us think that we are the one exception to the rule? Do we really expect this unwelcomed visitor to pass us by? James taught that we should expect trials not avoid them. “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). That sentence is packed full of punch. First, the word “count” is an accounting term that implies that you can take this statement to the bank. The second key term, “when” indicates time. James doesn’t suggest “if” one day you might suffer, but “when” you get hit, it’ll hurt. Thirdly, pain comes in a variety of forms. “Various” means multi-colored or diverse. In other words, suffering comes in many shapes and sizes; there’s one form that perfectly suits you.

By now, you’re thinking this is the most downer blog you’ve ever read. Well here’s the good news. Jesus was more emphatic in his prediction of pain, but He also had a common denominator remedy. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). With Jesus pain will still hurt, but it also brings the prescription for peace. Also, it won’t be permanent. We can overcome any situation this world throws our way with God on our side. Jesus promises to transform pain into peace both here and in the hereafter, if we’ll just let Him.




  1. Great solid teaching gal! We all need it and it is so true.

    Blessings and prayers your friend, Susan

  2. Lenya,
    I have been reading the words from your heart in this blog and I have been praying for you. As you state, pain is the common denominator. I believe that the comfort of the Lord is the only true cure. I had a very brief season of suffering in April of 2008 while on a glorious trip in the Holy Land. I wasn't able to see the sights in the very last days of that trip. The doctors at the University Hospital in Jerusalem never did figure out what invaded my system and wiped me out but what was most memorable was not the pain, not the weakness of my frail flesh but rather it was you. You comforted me, a complete stranger. Your kind and gentle words were genuine and you guided me to a hospital nearby. In my frenzy of illness in a completely foreign country your calm spirit spoke volumes beyond any words. Since that time I have come to realize that it was in fact Christ in you that I saw. I hear Him now in your messages and through the darkness of your painful trial His light is beaming in you. What an amazing testiment you are to His glory. Thank you for being you, Lenya and thank you for being there when I needed a sister in Christ. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

    Much love in Him,

  3. Hello Lenya
    you are an amazing woman of faith, a blessing, an encouragement to myself, family and friends.
    we love you and pray for you daily.
    thank you for sharing and writing so eloquent
    when you writing i feel as if i am reading and praying a psalm
    love to you and your family
    you are beautiful
    we share your blog with others as well
    you are being used.
    thank you so much linda martin

  4. i love this pic of you as well.
    today jon courson on the radio was talking about trials and how he slipped into mud with his bible in his hand the first time, he said oh this is great i can used this illustration in my message tomorrow
    the 2nd time he fell forward on a rock broke his sandal and had to walk a long way on hot cement and was not happy or rejoicing.
    however later in his hotel he heared God saying something like even the trials you do not anticipate i am there too.
    you look so beautiful

  5. Hugs and kisses blown your way!! Sandy

  6. A downer blog? No way! No one in their right mind expects you to have only bright and glorious things to say all the time, Lenya. There is reality that we all live in too after all. :) And reality is such that no one feels great every day even if they're healthy, why would we expect different from you? I've told you a few times when I've been sad about some things (and they weren't even as serious!)it certainly would be no problem if you ever had to share things that distress and trouble you as well.

    As for your comment about seniors, I remember being at the VA a few weeks ago when my hub had to be there and thinking how much harder it must be for the very elderly Vets to have to make their way around that place. Its difficult when one is young(er) what's it like when some of the guys are very elderly and they can't hear and sometimes people can't understand them either?!! So I realize that if we ever think we have it bad, inevitably there is someone out there who has it worse.

    You can express when you feel concerned or distressed about something. We'll all view you just the same. :) I know I will.

  7. Lenya,
    Preston and I have been praying for you and Skip. I know that the Lord is going to use the words that you have written in a mighty way. It is such a blessing to my own heart and I am sure the hearts of many that you are able to express what God alone reveals to you through His Word and the season of life you are faithfully walking through. Love and blessings
    Glenda Parrish

  8. You're beautiful and soooo strong. Your words are an inspiration to us all. Our kinship continues to pray. Love, David and Dolores