Predicting the weather isn't an exact science. Even with the technology of weather satellites, Doppler radar, dropsondes, supercomputers, weather hunters, and other forecasting wizardry exact precision is impossible. Mother nature moves at a pace and directional variance mere humans cannot anticipate with accuracy. Observing the antics of Hurricane Dorian this past week has been another of a long list of examples. Except in biblical prophesy and revelation our species just can't know the future. Well, of course, with some tongue in cheek, Jim Cantore is in your back yard. Speaking of Cantore, if you haven't seen the hilarious TV commercial about him, click here.
On the other hand, predicting the metaphorical storms of life is a more exact discipline. Without doubt they are going to happen. The conditions that produce them and their disruptive force on our lives are also very predictable. In that respect, Scripture is storm central in predicting, tracking, and weathering them. Three thoughts about the storms of life are particularly fitting as meteorologists have lived in our dens for the past few days. Go to storm central with me---
THE INEVITABILITY OF LIFE STORMS.
Jesus reminded his disciples they would face difficulties in this world.
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, ESV
What were the storms he was predicting for his most intimate followers? There are several layers of disturbance here and, this is no exhaustive list. But, the storms of life take several forms---
Living in a fallen world (1 John 2:16, ESV)
The weakness of the human condition (2 Corinthians 4:7-12, ESV)
Being Christ followers and disciples (Matthew 10:22, ESV)
Lack of spiritual knowledge (Hosea 4:6, ESV)
The influence of other people and culture in general (Romans 12:2, ESV)
Temptation and evil (1 Peter 5:8, ESV)
Spiritual growth and maturity (James 1:2-4, 12-17)
Together they define the frailty of the human condition and the truth that we are subject to the winds and waves of emotional, physical, and spiritual atmospheric disturbances. Any of them can blow us off course unless tracked and weathered.
THE PROBABILITY FACTOR.
Even in our advanced state we still cannot predict the future. This past week the weather industry wowed us with their language, the courage to stand in waist deep water while it rained buckets sideways, and their in-depth graphics of many prior hurricanes. But, the storms went their own path and even the most sophisticated equipment and people couldn't predict them with precise accuracy. They depended on several lines of probability, when the winds, currents, pressures, temperature, upper level activity, lows and highs, and more were aligned just right. The same is true when predicting the storms of life. We cannot know when they will come. But, certain circumstances are accurate prelude to them. Like, infidelity in marriage may indicate troubled waters in the state of the union. Or, riotous living may intro addictions or worse. Hanging with the wrong crowd may be the prelim to illegal activities. And, you get the point. We cannot actually know when life's storms will hit us. But, probabilities can give us warning. This is why Scripture counsels us to remain alert and vigilant. Paul wrote, "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV), just one reminder of our need to remain aware of what is happening around us.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
Planning is the old model for avoiding the storms of life. We humans think we can plan around them. We cannot, however, since we can't accurately predict the future. The biblical strategy for dealing with life's storms is to avoid the probabilities that introduce them by consistently practicing the elements of our faith. No, it's not a trial and error session to see what works. It's consistently living the life defined by Scripture. Many Bible verses support how we should live out our faith. A particular favorite is from the pen of the Apostle Paul, writing to the church at Philippi--
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is
pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is
anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9, ESV
Simon Peter, the disciple who compulsively struggled with many life storms, wrote another power verse about practicing what we believe---
Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and
election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
2 Peter 1:10, ESV
"Practice these things..." is the biblical preparation guide to help us avoid the probabilities of the many life storms.
Wednesday, tracking the storms of life. Be safe.
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