Hurricane Florence is a reminder to those of us who like things predictable and under control that neither predictability nor manageability are promised to us. Natural events, such as unwelcome Flo, are especially hard on the control freaks among us. Wind speeds, rainfall totals, and storm surges can be measured, but they cannot be reined in by even our best efforts.
One option in the face of such a reality is to adopt an attitude of fatalism – a feeling that we are powerless in the face of the inevitable and therefore must resign ourselves to whatever happens. Such a response to life’s unexpected twists and turns can lead to pessimism and negativism and ultimately depression; or to a stoic approach to life which avoids passion or feeling about much of anything.
Another option is to live in a state of anxiety, fearing the unknown. Angst over what may or may not lie ahead can make our lives an unpleasant excursion through indecision or paralysis, where we simply cannot bring ourselves to launch into any venture because we cannot foresee its outcome.
Scripture describes another approach: faith. Trust in the living God is a personal decision to face life, in all its uncertainties, with a larger perspective. We acknowledge our powerlessness in the face of many circumstances, but we do not yield to a defeatist response. Instead, we look to our Creator and Lord to guide us through that which is bigger and more powerful than our finite human resources.
We do not bargain for an escape or easy way out, but instead place our lives in the hands of the one who promises to walk with us through any and every challenge. We acknowledge our fears, we confess our frustration at not being in control of every aspect of life, and we continue to move forward into a future that is not always an open book to us.
Long after Florence has blown through and entered the annals of history, we will face many other uncontrollable and unpredictable circumstances in our lives. How we approach them and how we apply our faith in the midst of them will make all the difference.
Written by Bert Browning