One day I ran 3 miles. The next day I had to buy a walking cane to get across the room. Unexpected.
Life changing, unexpected events – many of them history changing – are called “black swans.” Risk Management was invented to identify, assess, prioritize, and stop black swans. Black swans were thought non-existent until some were found in the wild – unexpectedly.
Label them black swans and employ risk management – but it is impossible to stop the unexpected.
Black swans in recent history, many in my lifetime, include Chernobyl. Folks were expecting nuclear war at the time. They weren’t expecting nuclear devastation from an energy plant.
A few more black swans: the sinking of the Titanic; the assassinations of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr.; the attack on Pearl Harbor; 9/11, the Beetles breaking up.
Unexpected can equal good; the lab accident that led London’s Alexander Fleming to discover penicillin; the creation of Israel as a Jewish State in 1947, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Most recently, headlines around the world proclaimed in shocked tones, “Trump Pulls Off Biggest Upset in U.S. History.” The man who had never before held elected office is now the President of the United States.
Black swans are not imaginary or non-existent. They are everywhere! Admittedly, my black swan is minuscule in terms of U.S. history and world events…but I’d like to ditch it and the walking stick.
When black swans slide across our horizon, we need to remember that God is still in control. Surely no one in history suffered more from the unexpected sightings of black swans than righteous Job. Satan wanted to turn Job against God, so he destroyed Job’s family, wealth, and health. Job’s own wife told him to curse God and die. Job’s friends came to comfort him. “Job,” they said, “you’ve sinned against God or you wouldn’t be in this mess. It’s your fault.” Yup, we all know a few “friends” like that.
Job’s responses are legendary: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb…the LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
In the end, God blessed Job and gave him twice as much as he had before. Good for Job. As for me…I just want to stop swimming with black swans and get back to walking again. And, by the healing power in the name of Jesus, I will.