Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Weather, Entropy, and One Little Non-Scientific Thing

It was late Monday afternoon. We were playing thirty-six holes of miniature golf navigating the tricky undulations and strategically placed, brightly painted lumber. The boys laughed a lot and got a little competitive at the end. The temperature was approaching ninety degrees. It wasn’t that mid-summer, sticky, damp, no Oxygen in the air heat. It was dry and breezy, but much warmer that anything since early October. 

A few hours later, it was dark. Most of the neighbors seemed to have their lights down. Esther, the giant and cuddly Newfoundland dog, was her typical relentless self and wanted to go outside. I acquiesced. Dog owners don’t have much choice. Especially when the dog is the size of a medium bear. I took her glow-in-the-dark ball and she seemed at least willing to entertain the idea of playing fetch. I threw the ball and she gave me this strange look. I had seen it before. My plan to wear her out failed—just like it usually does. I guess I should remember she is a water rescue dog and not a retriever.

I noticed something strange. It was cold. The north wind was sharp. The warmth from the sun was gone. The temperature had easily dropped forty degrees in about four hours. Winter was making what hopefully was her last stand.

Midwesterners are a tough bunch of people. We have to be. Weather changes fast. Sunny one minute and rain the next. Hot in the early evening and cold at night.

One thing that changes faster than Midwestern weather is life. I have experienced this as a person and observed this as a pastor. Something doesn’t feel right. You visit the doctor and get bad news. The boss calls you into the office and says the budget is tight. You are out of a job. A relationship ends or changes significantly. An addiction develops. An accident happens. A child makes a bad choice. A parent ages. Somebody you love dies. Somebody you love hurts.

Entropy is what a chemist uses to explain a lack of order or predictability. Like when snow melts on a mountain and floods the river a hundred miles away. Entropy happens in all areas of life. Warm, sunny, and calm one minute and cold, dark, and windy the next. Healthy one minute. Hurting the next. Stable one minute. Messed up the next. Safe and secure one minute. Vulnerable and exposed the next. Entropy happens.

Life happens too. And no matter how hard we try to control—life ends up having a lack of order and predictability. It just does. Faster than the Nebraska weather. Worse than the flooded Missouri River. 

One thing doesn’t change. Entropy doesn’t apply to God. I am the LORD, and I do not change. –Malachi 3:6

In the world full of rapid changes; in this world full of entropy; we are loved by the Creator of the world who doesn’t change. In the storms, the floods, the challenges, and the heartbreaks—God is with us. Today and in the end, that is what matters most and it is the one thing you can count on.

The best is yet to come…


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