I saw this quote today, and I really liked it.
“Allowing current events to bring you to fear is not of God. However, don’t let anyone tell you that using precautions is a lack of faith. Faith and Wisdom CAN coexist.”
I would actually take that idea a step further. I would say Faith and wisdom (which leads to precautions) MUST coexist.
I would say to Christians: your #1 job on earth is to “prepare” continually! You are commanded to keep preparing your hearts, at all times. You are meant to continue working out your salvation and preparing yourself for the Kingdom of God.
Now, some of you may feel like I switched horses there, because the quote was clearly talking about physical preparations and I hit you with a spiritual angle. So let me explain how physical preparations can (and should) lead directly into spiritual submission to God.
Yes, we should be aware of whatever calamities are currently threatening the world.
Furthermore, we should weigh what the experts are saying and work to discern what is true and what isn’t.
Finally, we should do whatever we are able to do in order to love our neighbors and lift burdens and live as selfless, compassionate caretakers of our physical worlds. Yes–yes–we should take “precautions” for tragedies, as far as we’re able, for the sake of our families/communities.
But, as we begin honestly asking ourselves just how much we, as humans, can realistically do to prevent those tragedies and achieve perfect safety/well-being, at some point we ought to come face to face with our own inadequacy.
At some point, pretty quickly, we ought to confront the inescapable and terrifying reality of just how out-of-control we are.
Maybe I’m talking about pollution, or maybe I’m talking about the Amazon rainforest being on fire, or maybe I’m talking about a viral disease which has literally captured the attention of EVERYONE on the planet.
We are all constantly at risk of something really awful happening for which (the experts will tell us) we’re not prepared.
We’re spinning on a gigantic mass of dirt and magma, lost somewhere in an impossibly large abyss of Nothingness, and on this planet with us are literally hundreds of thousands of things that are trying to go wrong at all times. (The experts tell us “Everything tends toward disorder…”)
Of course, usually we don’t stop to really consider that fragility, so we’re able to go to work and school without dealing with an Existential Crisis and Panic Attacks. But, if you don’t feel a little bit of vertigo when you do pause to consider all the things that could catch you off guard–and then destroy life as you know it–are you even a human?
It’s like, everywhere we turn, we’re getting the message that our systems of survival are hanging by a thread. So we put our heads together and come up with strategies for coping, and then we share those helpful tips with our neighbors in effort to “prepare” as much as we can,…but we ought to be uncomfortably aware of just how little those precautions actually accomplish!
There are never many guarantees, except one: you’re guaranteed to die of something eventually. And the “what if” associated with when and where and how can be overwhelming.
One tiny, little thing (literally, so tiny we can’t even see it) can change life as we know it in an instant… and are any of us ever fully prepared for that reality?
Again, I’m not saying we should give up trying and simply ignore the experts’ recommendations about how to mitigate damage in emergencies.
But, I truly believe our hearts need the most preparation of all right now. In fact, I truly believe the opportunity to prepare our hearts is the entire purpose of why God allows those scary emergencies to happen.
Every chance to panic is also a chance to go back to the Big Picture and remember Who’s in charge. Every reminder of our own mortality is a chance to praise God for his Divinity.
Our good deeds are filthy rags. And ALL of our well-intentioned plans for tomorrow will only actually come to pass if God wills it, too.
Our policies and procedures often turn out to be mere illusions that we can help God keep the world spinning, if we just work hard enough. We not-so-secretly believe that we’ve advanced enough as a society to control our environments, with the right amount of human cooperation.
It’s at this juncture that our “precautions” quickly turn into a Tower of Babel scenario, where we pride ourselves on our collective knowledge, human effort, and good safety plans to get us through the storm.
Who do we turn to first when we’re worried? (Government? Healthcare professionals?) And who do we thank when we manage to survive? (Fellow Humans?) Too often we congratulate each other when the threat subsides…
“Thank you, Scientists and Doctors!”
“Oh, no, thank YOU, average citizens! we couldn’t have done it without you following our Commandments…”
“Thank you, Government!”
“Oh, you’re very welcome! We’re here to print money and make promises we aren’t really qualified to keep, whenever you’d like.”
“Yay, us! Go Team! We did great!”
(Oops. Now time to move on to the next Very Serious Threat…stay tuned…)
Unfortunately, there are just too many things trying to kill us all the time to take the level of “precaution” that a non-Christian might want you to take.
There’s no way for all of us to operate at Maximum Preparedness for all possible Threats all the time.
The climate scientists have been warning us about an Ice Age for decades. Astronomers tell us we’re overdue for a devastating asteroid. There was panic about the Amazon rainforest being on fire less than a year ago (It’s actually still on fire, like it always is, but suddenly we’re not “preparing” for that anymore.)
At some point, we should be asking ourselves if maybe–just maybe–all of these constant, scary, out-of-control things are here by God’s grace as a reminder that we are mists and then we vanish.
Maybe, we should consider that God is always trying to remind us of our own fragile existence, so that we will be utterly dependant on Him for our hope?
I definitely believe our human preparedness can lead us into Wisdom.
Through our weak attempts at managing this chaotic Planet, we are wise when we seek God and end up resting in HIS Safety Plan.
As we grow in this Wisdom, we can laugh at the days to come, knowing we’ve done everything for which we’re responsible (which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t a whole lot)–and yet the God of the Universe makes it enough because He’s here playing His much, much bigger part.
Man, I have so much more to say about this.
But I am responsible to prepare for dinner tonight. And I would be wise not to say, “Meh, I have faith that God is going to meet this need for my family, no matter what I do!”
Let’s keep talking about the overlap of faith and “preparation” in the coming days, okay?