Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Church's One Foundation"1 (Lyrics)
What a stunning reversal in normal summer weather patterns took place in late June, 2021! Rather than shivering and trying to keep dry on a typical camping trip, everyone in the USA Pacific Northwest was desperately trying to cope with the record-shattering 116°F (46°C) temperature. Even worse was the 121.3°F (49.6°C) Canadian temperature record set in Lytton, a small town in British Columbia, which was later sadly destroyed by a wildfire.
All of nature suffered because of this unprecedented weather. Despite my best attempts to keep them well-watered and protected from the blazing sun, shrubs on my patio ended up with patches of burned leaves, dry and crispy as potato chips. Shade-loving plants died. In most cases, there was absolutely nothing that we could do to avert the consequences of this baking heat.
I recently happened upon an interesting definition pertaining to this sort of natural phenomenon. Inspired by the highly improbable possibility of seeing a black swan among a group of white swans, a Black Swan event is seen as an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black Swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, severe impact, and the widespread insistence that they were obvious in hindsight.
There are some parallels here to life in general, and particularly to our Christian walk. We can go through life doing the best that we can to act wisely in order to avoid trouble. Despite everything, nonetheless, trouble comes into our lives. We may face financial reversals, consequences of poor decisions, serious health problems, and heartaches caused by other people or by circumstances beyond our control. Sometimes, in hindsight, we think that we could have averted the trouble had we acted differently, but many times, bad things simply happen.
We know that unbelievers benefit from the loving hand of God right along with His beloved children. Matthew 5:45b tells us that "He, after all, loves each of us — good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner." (The Voice)
The reverse is also true. Bad things also happen to good people. The difference is that God promises His children unfailing strength to bear troubling events.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (NLT)
Point to ponder: Let us place our lives lock, stock, and barrel into the hands of an all-knowing God, trusting Him to carry us through the storms of life.
Prayer: Dear Father, we are thankful for Your promise to care for us, no matter what. May we be grateful for Your blessings, but also have faith and trust to hold onto Your promises when hard times come our way. Amen.