So Hurricane Matthew is a thing and it has provided me with a new favorite phrase: the
CONE OF UNCERTAINTY
As the TV meteorologist directed my attention to the map forecasting the path of Matthew, he pointed to the CONE OF UNCERTAINTY, the area which could maybe probably kinda sorta somewhat be affected by Matthew’s violent high-powered circular winds.
And just when I think I am one of the first people on the planet to learn this term, the annoying reality is that’s its simply new to me. Alas! Google informed me that the original concept of a Cone of Uncertainty was developed for engineering and project management in 1958! So much for me being on the cusp of trendy, cutting edge thinking!
I don’t care! I’m still declaring it to be my new favorite phrase. It RESONATES with my soul! Here’s my new phrase used in a sentence:
“South Florida is in the cone of uncertainty but it’s still too soon to know how or when Matthew will affect us.”
Now if you live in South Florida, you’re in the CONE! You might be feeling a tad anxious about this because your life is certainly going to be impacted – to an uncertain degree of course - by this raging wad of wind!
Uncertainty breeds anxiety.
And that, my friends, is my profound thought for today.
And the reality is that it isn’t just those living in South Florida who find themselves in a cone of uncertainty. Emotional turmoil created by racial issues, political craziness, economic upheaval, pollution, disease and terrorism place all of humanity squarely in the path of increasingly stormy tensions. Bad weather feels like the least of our problems.
In Matthew 8: 23-27 Jesus and his disciples get in a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. The geography of this area creates a vortex effect with weather patterns, so that sudden, violent storms come up without warning. Most fishermen stayed close to shore for this very reason. But Jesus takes them all the way across the sea. And sure enough, in this Cone of Uncertainty, a sudden storm whips up threatening the safety of those on board. Anxiety floods their spirits. (All of them, that is, except Jesus, who was actually unaffected by the Cone and was fast asleep). Drowning in despair, they yelled to Jesus to save them. And he said,
“You of little faith. Why are you so afraid?”
BECAUSE…let me see, oh yeah! Waves are crashing over the boat for starters! Because we’re about to drown – not just in anxiety but in actual water!
And then this Jesus did something remarkable. “He got up and rebuked the wind and waves and it was completely calm.”
Most of humanity finds relief from the storm with regular doses of self-medication. What’s your remedy? Food? Buying stuff? Drugs? The Internet? Maybe it’s working hard. Blaming others is sometimes helpful. Trying harder? There’s LOTS of options.
Cones of Uncertainty are definitely breeding grounds for anxiety but with Jesus they can become training grounds for building faith in him. Jesus doesn’t protect us from uncertain circumstances. In fact, when we follow him, he leads us boldly right smack into them!
We get to choose how we experience the ride: succumbing to the pull of anxiety and panic or facing uncertainty by turning in faith toward the One who calms the sea. The current of anxiety is fierce. The rocking boat is real. Jesus said, "My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives" No, Sir, you do not give me peace the way I want peace. I want the boat to be still. I want the storm to dissipate. But you want me to experience victory in the heat of the battle. Peace in the midst of the storm.
Hmmm...maybe "Life in the Cone" would make for a good soap opera - but no - it's not a drama we can tune out when we want. It is real life. And real peace is offered by a real God.