Absolute or relative?

Is 4, 4 for everyone?

Are all sevens the same?

For a four year old, four years is an entire life; for an eighty year old, it’s only five percent of a life. 4 may be 4, but the sense of duration can be vastly different.

Toting four pounds of bricks is a lot easier than hoisting four pounds of feathers. Same weight, varying levels of difficulty.

I’m enough of a math geek to confirm that 4 is 4, and I’ve lived long enough to know that 4 of anything may be quite different for one person than another – or even the same person at different life stages.

How about sevens? Lucky for some, assigned other characteristics by others, a seven is still a 7.

If this is true of numbers, which are widely considered constant, how much more true is it for less quantifiable realities? I’m going to try and keep that in mind the next time someone offers a completely different understanding of God’s presence among us or what happens after death.

Perhaps Paul was right: in the end, it’s just these three things that remain constant: faith, hope, and love….and maybe he was wrong.

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