It’s the time of year when we hear meteorologists repeat those words that strike fear in our hearts: “the cone of uncertainty.” It means a hurricane is brewing in the ocean and headed toward the US coast.
We’ve lived in Florida and know about the “cone of uncertainty.” We’ve experienced it first hand. We’ve seen people overreact as a result. And we’ve also seen people ignore hurricane warnings because of the “cone of uncertainty” and fail to properly prepare.
As I heard the words again on the news Thursday morning, they took on a new meaning as hurricane Dorian is predicted to hit Florida, because that’s where we’re headed. We intended to leave Louisville Friday morning and drive to Homosassa on the West coast.
Hmm, now I wondering should we wait and see if Dorian hits Florida. When it hits. Or where it hits. The weatherman said the “cone of uncertainty reaches from Key West to Jacksonville. That’s 500 miles. Also, some of the models show Dorian cutting across the middle of the state where we will be and exiting into the Gulf and Mexico. We’re staying about 5 miles from the Gulf.
“The cone of uncertainty.” But isn’t that life? Is anything really certain? It reminds me of this Biblical warning. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring” (Prov 27:1)
About the time we are smoothly sailing along thinking how easy our life is. How calm the seas are. How favorably and warm the winds are blowing. A storm suddenly hits. The seas become turbulent. The winds cold. And the weather atrocious. Sickness. Death. Divorce. Financial collapse. People make decisions that disrupt our lives. Circumstances change the impact of our cozy comfort zone. There’s an old adage that says, “he only constant in life is change.” Ahh, “the cone of uncertainty.”
James is right. We do not “know what will happen tomorrow.” To boast of our intentions to “go to this city or that city” and leaving God out of our plans is foolish and futile. (Jas. 4:13-15).
Life’s complexity adds to the “cone of uncertainty.” Life is not always a straight line connecting one dot to another. Relationships can be more complicated than we first thought. Careers can prove more demanding than we anticipated. Commitments can challenge us to greater involvement than we ever dreamed. And decisions may have more far-reaching ramifications than we could envision.
Of course, the brevity of life further adds to ‘the cone of uncertainty.” The Bible compares life to a shadow that flees. A flower that fades. A cloud that disappears. A tale that is told. And a vapor that vanishes. Here today; gone tomorrow. It’s more than a cliche’. It’s so.
We don’t know when life will end. Babies die in infancy. Young people suffer tragic accidents. Middle-aged men and women suddenly die of heart attacks. And of course, the aged will soon pass from this life. You don’t know the future, because you don’t know how long you have to live.
“The cone of uncertainty” can be a cone of confusion when we try to direct our own steps apart from God’s guidance. To temper trouble and turbulence in your life, live with trust in the Lord, direction by His Word, faith in our future, and the hope that lies beyond this temporal life.
As for our immediate travel plans, we shall proceed with caution. With a realization and respect for “the cone of uncertainty.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman