The focus of our tracking systems.
Tracking storms is a more exact science than predicting them. The advanced technology of the meteorological disciplines enables pinpoint accuracy in plotting the coordinates of weather systems. Yes, there are also the TV guys wading through floods and standing almost horizontally in hurricane force winds. They are dramatic visuals that give the longitudes, latitudes, cones, lines, and colors a pulse. Would that we humans could be that precise in tracking our own personal storms. But, that's the human dilemma. Our sensors are internal and self-governed. We have memory, volatile emotions, biases, values, preferences, and attitudes that focus our observation ports. Tracking our personal life storms is difficult for most of us. They fluctuate with our emotions, which are all over the map at times.
Monitoring self is the most common human tracking predicament. The man in the mirror is usually better looking, more brilliant, and more discerning than the real person. That may be one of the reasons the Apostle Paul warned of times when self-positioning would define our life path. This kind of thinking was obvious in many verses from his first century epistles. Evidently human nature hasn't changed all that much---
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people
will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their
parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure
rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.
Avoid such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5, ESV
The unholy trinity of "me, myself, and I" distorts our ability to monitor and then weather personal storms. Being a lover of self inflicts us with a myopia that doesn't see things accurately. Storms capture and warp our vision in at least two ways---
1. Human vision typically sees only the storm.
One day Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a small boat. Matthew wrote, "Then, without warning, a furious storm arose on the lake so that the waves were sweeping over the boat. But Yeshua was sleeping" (Matthew 8:24, CJB). The force of the storm was so overpowering that the disciples couldn't concentrate on anything else. Fearing for their lives they became storm central.
On another Sea of Galilee occasion Jesus commanded Simon Peter to join him by walking on the lake water. Peter was so focused on the mighty wind and growing sea he began to sink in the waves (see Matthew 14:22-33, ESV). He became storm central too.
Each is an instance of a human tendency to become so intent about obstacles, troubles, and storms that we ignore the one who can calm them. That happened around us this past week as everybody tried to guess the eventual landfall of Hurricane Dorian. Some friends were so focused on the storm track they didn't prepare. Or pray. Or seek Scriptural guidance in dealing with the storm's outcomes.
Our emotions are circumstantial. And, that's a human bent, allowing our circumstances to define us. This may be one of the reasons Scripture advises us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Or, as the ancient King of Judah declared when facing the storm of a mighty opposing army, "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on you"
(2 Chronicles 20:12, ESV). Tracking our troubles isn't as important as seeking the one who can see us through them. He is really storm central.
2. Human vision often enlarges the storm.
Humans do enjoy attention. Receiving the praise, admiration, or even pity from others has a way of growing life's storms. As a result, we tend to apply doses of hyperbole to the rough seas we are facing. It's like the adage, "There are two kinds of surgery, major and minor. Minor is what's happening to someone else. Major surgery is what is happening to me". In many instances our emotional senses, guided by our egocentric wiring, transform the storms to dimensions larger than reality. It's the ratings thing, you know, especially when we become storm central.
Sure, it's good to know where the storms will take us. We know the stages of grief, the twelve steps to conquering addictions, and other programmed systems to guide us through tracking mechanics. But, even more, we know the one who can see us through them, the one whose promised presence comforts and guides, the one who loves us and is working in our lives every moment, especially when the atmospheric pressure is is up and the winds and waves are buffeting us. It's the lesson Christ's disciples learned that day with Jesus on the thrashing lake. Jesus said, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm" (Matthew 8:26). Jesus should be our storm central too.
Our tracking systems should focus on him when facing the storm's of life.
Friday, let's deal with weathering life's storms.
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