Living in a Cone of Uncertainty

During every major natural disaster I learn a new meteorological term. Last year before hurricane Matthew hit the east coast, I became very familiar with the term “storm surge.” This year’s term was “the cone of uncertainty.” Every time I turned on one of the weather channels I saw a map describing the cone and warning residents and visitors within the cone to prepare for the hurricane. Having numerous family and friends, as well as property in Florida, I watched closely and with concern as this cone shifted across the state of Florida.  This uncertainty was the source of anxiety for millions. More than once I thought, the better term is the “cone of anxiety.”

But don’t we all live in a perpetual cone of uncertainty? None of us knows for sure what tomorrow will bring. Risks of impending storms are ever present—actual, as well as spiritual. How can we avoid the anxiety that comes with uncertainty?  

With regard to weather-related storms, we can often make preparations to help us avoid damage. Fortunately, while the precise path of the hurricane remained uncertain, experts and authorities were able to give some educated warnings. We will never know how many lives were saved by those warnings as people exited the area of the cone. But often, we are not given warnings. Life is uncertain and not guaranteed.

Oswald Chamber in My Utmost for His Highness, wrote this regarding uncertainty: “Naturally, we are inclined to be so mathematical and calculating that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing.  We imagine that we have to reach some end, but that is not the nature of spiritual life.  The nature of spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty…” (entry from April 29th)

Of what, or rather, of WHOM, can we be certain?

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

We can be certain of Jesus Christ, to be the same yesterday, today, and forever; and therefore, we can be certain of His promises and of His love. He demonstrated the full extent of His promises and of His love, by fulfilling Scripture and by dying on the cross. Reading and knowing His Word is so important for this very reason—to have the confidence of Who He is, so that when storms come that might threaten to shake us, we are already prepared and secure in His love. This preparation roots us in the knowledge of Him and the assurance of an eternal hope for those that believe. As we give our lives to Him, trusting that He is in control, we can rest in our uncertainty. The cone of uncertainty can become the place of reliance and deep fellowship with the only One who is certain.


Postscript: The storms we face are real, both physical and spiritual. The effects of Harvey and Irma were devastating. I continue to pray for all those who lost family or property. As followers of the One who is certain, it is also my prayer that we will become His hands and feet, walking beside those who have suffered the effects of the storms.