The drama begins with four students, S1-S4. (S2 and S4 should be girls, S3 should be a boy) sitting at a library desk studying. S1, S2, and S3 are somber, S4 is obviously having a great time. Additional students S5-S10 can be added if you wish. If not, the drama can be done by four players sharing the other roles.
S1: I hate this algebra stuff; it always gives me a headache.
S2: Me too, and there’s always so much to do. Tonight we have 30 problems to solve. This teacher assigns work as if this were the only class we’re taking.
S3: And the pressure is incredible. If you don’t pass this class with a good grade, you can forget any scholarships. That’s just not fair. I’m no mathematician, I’m a poet. (sarcastically) I’m sure I will need algebra in my life. (Pauses a moment, then says sarcastically) Oh, wait, the inspiration has come for a word problem (clears throat); I think that I will never see, a bigger pain in the neck than thee.
S1 & S2: Bravo; encore; author, author; here, here!
S4: Come on, you guys, this isn’t a pep rally. It’s a study session. Can you keep it down a little?
S1: Well excuse me, we were just trying to have a little fun in this miserable existence. Is there something wrong with that?
S4: No, not at all. Fun is important. I just don’t want yours to get in the way of mine.
S1: Your what?
S4: My fun.
S2: How can she have fun in the library? Is there a hot guy in here you haven’t told me about?
S4: No, of course not. Anyway, if there were a good-looking guy in here you’d have sniffed him out all on your own.
S3: Well, thanks a lot.
S4: No, no, you’re great…you know what I mean, some other guy.
S1: You’re not having fun anymore, are you?
S4: No, I’m not having fun anymore, and it’s you guys’ fault. You should have just let me study.
S2: What is it you’re having so much fun studying?
S4: Algebra, same as you!
S1: How on earth can that be fun? This is nothing more than torture, pure torture.
S4: Come on, you guys, it is not!
S2: Come off it, you’re no brainchild. You’ve had as much trouble with this thing as we have. You’re passing this class, but no better!
S4: I know. But I’m not worried about passing or failing or A’s, B’s, C’s, and stuff.
S1 & S3: What? Not worried? What are you, dead from the neck up?
S1: But grades are important!
S4: Not forever. What’s important forever is that I’m learning something. And I am, and it’s fun! Look, folks, I’m not gonna starve, I’ll get by, God will see to that, so I’m just gonna try to be the best me I can be and enjoy the joy of my salvation while I do it.
S1 & S2: Enjoy the joy of what?
S4: My salvation.
S3: My stars, first she’s a scholar, now she’s a preacher.
S4: Not a preacher, just a believer.
S5: Excuse me, could you people keep it down? Your noise is disturbing everyone.
S3: Get off it. We’re not making that much noise. And besides, you should thank us for interrupting your misery.
S4: There you go again. Study, hard work, responsibility–those don’t have to be misery.
S6: Explain your case.
S4: Okay. First, my life doesn’t depend on my life.
S7: What’s going on over here? What’s she talking about.
S2: God only knows.
S5: Precisely what?
S4: God knows me, everything about me; my ups and downs, my good and bad, my deepest secrets.
S5: Then, boy, are you in trouble!
S4: No, I’m not. I should be, but I’m not. That’s why there’s joy in our world. God knows everything about me, from the way I feel about crummy ol’ Mr. Schowalter, the chemistry teacher, to the things that come to my mind when certain people walk by me.
S5 & S6: Oh yeah, uh huh, I got you. I hear you. Shame on you!
S4: And still He loves me and there’s nothing I can do to make Him stop loving me. He loved me so much He came down to share in my world as a real person.
S8: I remember something about that from Sunday school. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” but I never understood why that had to happen.
S4: Because God wants us to know that He is really here for us and really here with us. He really knows what we’re going through cause He went through it all.
S9: Baloney, man. God is not concerned with what’s going down in my life. Does He know what it’s like to have no money and to have some dude tell you you can make some big money by selling drugs? Does God know temptation?
S4: He sure does. He Himself was tempted by the best, the devil himself. He wasn’t just tempted with gold chains and fancy cars; the devil told Him He could have it all if He’d just bow down and worship the devil.
S10: Shy would He allow the devil to tempt Him?
S4: So you’d know that God Himself understands how you feel when someone tempts you to cheat, steal, lie, or use drugs. He knows; He’s been there, and He beat them all. And so can we!
S2: So when I say, “God, I’m afraid I’m gonna cheat. I don’t want to. Help me,” He understands?
S4: You bet! And when you cheat, He cries, He gets upset; but He still loves you. And He died for your sin on Calvary so He can say He forgives you.
S5: But that’s impossible. What you’re saying is that God loves me, period, end of discussion. You’re telling me that God thinks I’m special, not because of what I do, but because of what He did to die for my sins.
S4: Right, so you can feel good about yourself again.
S6: Oh, yeah, like you felt after Timothy Rogers’ father said you were a strange kid and wouldn’t let Tim go out with you; like that didn’t bother you at all.
S4: Well, at first it did, sure. So maybe I have some problems and some bad habits.
S4: Okay, I’m not on trial here. But God still loves me, and there’s hope for me. So I got over it and with God’s help I’m gonna use that lesson to get better; which is what I was trying to do in algebra until you guys messed me up!
S1 & S3: Well, excuse us!
S4: I’ll do better than that. I’ll forgive you and share my sunflower seeds with you.
S1-S10: All right!!
S4: See, you guys, you can rejoice even when you don’t understand your algebra homework because there is forgiveness. God forgives us everything for Jesus’ sake. He doesn’t hold or use our past or present sins against us. If we fail algebra, God won’t let our lives be over.
S3: So challenges and problems can’t get us down because God is here to help us.
S6: So I can work to learn and not just to keep from failing.
S7: So I can live to live and not just live so as not to die?
S4: You’ve got it, so let’s have some more fun. Let’s work on problem 23. If a car leaves Baton Rouge at 6:00 am, driving 60 mph, and another car leaves New Orleans at 6:00 am traveling at 70 mph, at what time will they cross each other?
Originally published in Youth Ministry Quarterly 90:4, Winter 1990.
Republished and revised in April 2011 for thESource.