Tuesday, March 01, 2005

In like a lion. . .

So who was it that made up these cute little weather predictions? No, not the guy at the Weather Channel. Somebody must've had some real imagination. You know, the folks who decided you could tell when winter would end by watching a groundhog on February 2nd. And shouldn't it be the other way around? If he sees his shadow, shouldn't that be telling us spring is coming instead of vice versa? Sun should equal warmer, right?

And is this from the same mind who tells us that we can predict the weather for March 31st by taking the opposite of March 1st? You've heard the saying, "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." And if that one doesn't work, there's always, "March comes in like a lamb and out like a lion." I think that the inventor of this poem is banking on human memory which can't usually retrieve meteorological information from thirty days previous. If nothing else, this post will record the official animal of the day here at my house. It's a lion. Oh boy, is it ever a lion! Currently 24 degrees. Winds 15-25 with blowing snow reducing visibility to under a quarter mile. I stepped out of my truck for 30 seconds to pick up the kids at school. When I stepped inside I was covered in flakes -- and it wasn't dandruff! I'm already planning my picnic at the swimming hole for the 31st!

We don't know much about the future. The Bible tells us how it finally ends, but the language is so symbolic it's hard to tell if it is describing a future war or the fall of Jerusalem in A. D. 70. And frankly I'm not up for a discussion of who's right in that whole argument. But I cringe when I see some folks with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other trying to match things up. I trust Him. I'm ready for Him. And I'll continue to work for Him until the end (of the world or my life, whichever comes first). I'm not too concerned about what happens in the meantime. Although there are certain aspects of the future I wonder about.

My wife and I will sometimes stare at our three children, wondering what they will be like as adults. My thirteen year-old is too much like me, and frankly I'm hoping he'll improve on his old man. My soon-to-be eleven year-old has so much going on in that head of his that anything could happen. And then there's the three year-old girl who I can't get a handle on, period. I'd love to know how these three will turn out by the time they're 45. But then again, I'm still wondering what I'll be like at 45 -- and I only have a year and a half to wait!

In a world where we try to keep everything under our control, the future is mostly out of our reach. We can prepare. We can hope. We can aim toward a goal, but there are no guarantees. We are reminded in the Bible that if we were truthful we would say things like, "If it is the Lord's will that I am still around tomorrow, I'll stop by to visit you." After all, who knows when the ticker will try to take a vacation? And it's that uncertainty which gives us a little fear about the future. We hope for the best, but can we really be sure?

Some people take it to the next stage and worry about the future. Jesus scoffed at people who think that way. "Who among you can add one more hour to your life by worrying about things?" Yeah, it's ridiculous. It's a matter of not trusting God for the big picture. We worry about not having things ready for the birthday party, or finding a pair of jeans that doesn't make us look fat. How trivial is all that? I'll admit that my big worries are what will happen with my kids, the safety of my wife on the roads in this lion-like day, bringing glory to my Creator, and all the earthly things I cannot control. But I am glad I have no worries about what happens to me when my ticker takes a vacation.

It's not that I never have doubts. I think everyone struggles with some doubt about things we are told in the Bible. We don't understand. We question. We think we deserve answers. But somehow God doesn't think we need all that. Job kept asking for his audience with the Almighty. He was sure he needed to find out why God had allowed so much evil to happen in his life. He knew that God owed him an explanation. God disagreed. God told Job, in what could have been a good Jack Nicholson impression, "You can't handle the truth! Just trust me."

I'm sure if I knew that sometime tomorrow my pants would fall down then I would walk around everywhere with a belt, suspenders, and at least one hand on my waistband. After all, I want to be in control, especially if there's a risk that I'm going to look foolish. Yet how foolish would I look with so many pants-holding devices being employed at one time? Seems like I look foolish either way. Does the fact that we don't know help us from acting stupider than we already do?
Outside my window, the snow has let up a little. I can see, maybe, a half-mile. The lion may be nodding off to sleep. I hope he doesn't awaken again. But I'm sure he will. I just don't know when. I am eternally grateful that I am not alone in the bad times or the good times, for I know God is with me. Even though I get no better of an explanation than Job received, I know Who holds tomorrow. And I know Who will see me through, no matter the weather.

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