Living with uncertainty
No, the storm track of Hurricane Matthew isn't a laughing matter. The picture may raise a chuckle only because we humans cannot determine, with any degree of accuracy, what the weather is going to do.
Make no doubt about it, though. Every one of us should be grateful for the
meteorologists, weather forecasting scientists, hurricane specialists, television
production crews, emergency management personnel, and all the others in the
organizational grid for their efforts in predicting and preparing us for the
outcomes of a storm with the strength and spread of Hurricane Matthew. My
chuckle isn't about them or at their expense. No, I'm smiling because we humans,
in spite of our technological savvy, advanced degrees, and specialization aren't
very good at forecasting anything. Of a truth, the future is hidden from us unless
revealed by God.
It's why there's a massive paradigm shift happening in the forward movement of our world. In the old world we limped toward tomorrow with a planning model. Our charts and graphs and formulas sought to predict what was coming and manage our responses to it as best we could. In the new world we're learning preparation systems. That is, we're learning to be prepared no matter what happens. So, while the forecasters as working their tracking models, the emergency folks are getting prepared for any eventuality. It's preparedness these days, not planning.
How can we navigate and be prepared for uncertain times. As I wrote this Harriet and I are evacuating our condominium and heading to Lexington for a few days with grandchildren John Lewis and Laura. Liz and Scott will be there too. In doing so we're trying to group together our biblical response to emergency circumstances, often times difficult to forecast. How should we be prepared for uncertain and really unpredictable times? Here are a couple of thoughts----
1. We should trust God in all things.
Trusting God should the the default setting for every believer. This is especially
true when we're facing unpredictable circumstances. In his sovereign rule God
has chosen not to show us everything (see Deuteronomy 29:29). Therefore, much
of life is beyond our plotting and planning. Trusting him in all things is our way to
move through unsure times. King David wrote about it---
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8, ESV
2. We should pay attention to what is happening around us.
Yesterday I talked to a person on the phone and told him we were planning to
vacate according to Governor Haley's evacuation order. The individual asked why
the Governor had called for the coastal counties to evacuate. They didn't know
there was a hurricane watch for our state. You know, clueless. The Apostle Paul
wrote about paying attention to what is happening around us---
Look at what is before your eyes.
2 Corinthians 10:7, ESV
3. We must obey the law.
Christians are expected to be good citizens. Paul wrote about our responsibility to
government in Romans 13.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority
except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Romans 13:1, ESV
4. We should observe the recommendation of emergency preparedness
personnel when possible.
Scripture always acknowledges the spiritual wisdom of listening to reputable and
reliable counsel. We're not to please men rather than God. But, God places
knowledgeable people in places of leadership to guard the welfare of the world
around us. We should listen to wise counsel and follow it when the care of the
greater community around us is at stake. Solomon wrote about this counsel in
many sections of the Proverbs.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors
there is safety.
Proverbs 11:14, ESV
5. We must care for the other people around us.
Self denial and the care of others are central tenets of our faith. During times of
uncertainty and potential community threat we should extend our own personal
safety, the care and guidance of our closest family and friends, to the other
inhabitants of our communities, especially those who are less fortunate or
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of
Philippians 2:4, ESV
The actual track of Hurricane Matthew is still uncertain, though we can observe his horrific path through the islands before approaching the United States . Which means, millions of the people around us are experiencing the question marks and decision mechanics associated with preparing for the storm, riding it out, or evacuating for higher ground. It is another of those life crises of uncertainty where actions and outcomes cannot be finally predicted. Many will have few options as this weather anomaly continues to unfold. We should display love and concern for them when possible.
Thankfully, God has given us firm direction for times of uncertainty. Because, nothing is uncertain to him.