Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Weatherman

In case you haven’t noticed in the last couple of weeks, it’s pretty hot outside. I don’t mean just a little warmer than usual. I mean it’s HOT! In fact it’s so hot outside that I saw something this weekend that I have never seen before. I actually saw a cat lying in the grass panting like a dog. I had no idea that cats panted, but there she was with her tongue hanging out just like my Golden Retriever.

I follow the weather pretty well. I am fascinated by weather forecasters and all of the technology that goes into predicting the weather. I can sit and watch The Weather Channel for hours if my wife would let me.

I am still confused about the whole “percentage” thing in weather prediction though. How does a meteorologist decide on what the percentage of rain is each day? The summer is easy for them. The typical summer forecast goes something like, “Highs today in the mid 90s with a 30% chance of scattered (or isolated) thundershowers in the afternoon”. (What exactly is the difference between scattered and isolated anyway?)

I am of a different mindset. Because I am not a gambling man, and because I never understood the laws of probability, I really think they have it all wrong. I maintain that on any given day the chance of rain, snow, sleet, hurricane or any other weather event, for that matter, is 50/50. It will either rain or it won’t. There you have it, the Stacy Williams fail-proof weather predictor. It will work for you in any season, any time. The next time someone asks you what the weather is going to be, just say “Well, it is either going to rain or it isn’t.”

Predicting weather is nothing new. It is even found in the Bible. Jesus talks about the sings that we read in the skies to predict weather.
Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming’; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather’; and there is. (Luke 12:54-55)
He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ (Matthew 16:2-3a)

Jesus, however, wasn’t giving the people a lesson in weather prediction. He was instructing them on reading the signs of the times. In the Luke passage above, He was speaking to the multitudes who came to hear Him preach. They were so anxious to hear Him that they were trampling over each other. Jesus knew though that not all of them were there for pure reasons. Many were there out of curiosity or to see if He was for real. In the rest of the passage He calls them hypocrites because they are able to read the signs of the weather, but cannot see the sings of who He really is.

It is interesting to note that the two times Jesus refers to the weather He uses two different examples of reading the signs of the skies, but He also refers to His audience in both passages as hypocrites. In the Luke passage He is speaking to the crowds. In the Matthew passage He is speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees.

We like to read the Bible and pretend that we are better than the Pharisees and Sadducees, but we are not. When we encounter Jesus, preaching the coming of the end of time, do we really believe it? If we really truly believed that the signs we see all around us were pointing to Christ’s return wouldn’t we want to be doing something about it? Wouldn’t we be in a rush like the week before Christmas to make sure all of our friends and family know the one who dies for us? My prayer is that you will experience Christ in such an unmistakable way that you cannot help but tell others about Him.

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
(Matthew 25:1-13 NKJV)

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