One of the things that has so intrigued me about reading The Black Swan is that it seems like each new section brings up another thought-provoking idea that leaps off the page at me. Yes! I think. That IS how it is.
Or, No, wonder I was having problems with such and such. Or… Wow what a fantastic doctrinal analogy!
As I’m going back through earlier sections which I’ve already read, I’m finding nearly every page dog-eared. Just in the prologue, I came upon the notion that instead of trying to predict Black Swan events (seeing as they are, by definition, unpredictable) we should instead be seeking to adjust to their existence.
That thought alone triggered a rush of thoughts. How do you adjust to the unpredictable? You adjust to the Justice of God, to use a phrase often uttered by my pastor. You adjust to His justice first through salvation, and second through consistently being filled with the Spirit and growing in knowledge of His word. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, the Father’s justice has been satisfied and is therefore free to bless us when we believe in and appropriate that work for ourselves. He gives us His own righteousness and places us in union with His Beloved Son, and as a result we share everything His son has. (Meditate on that concept for a little bit!)
The more we learn, the more our thinking is changed to His, increasing our capacity to receive the blessings He wants to give us. He is for us. He decreed everything that would ever happen to us, and it all fits into His purpose.
Whatever happens may not be predictable from my view, but to God, who is outside of time, it’s already happened. Just like the fact that from my side He’s conforming me to the image of His son even now, whereas from His I’m already conformed.
If you can really get your mind around those facts and live in them, there’s not much that can unsettle you. So then Black Swan’s don’t really matter. Because to God there are no Black Swans. What I love about this book is the crack it’s putting into the facade the world throws up — a facade that people know things, that things are getting better, that we have control, that there are experts and the rest of us better listen to them, that we can have security and safety and surety…
When really, who could have predicted 911? When the cold war ended, who could have predicted that the next big threat was going to be muslim extremists operating out of primitive villages in the Hindu Kush?
I couldn’t predict that when I took my mother to the dentist the other day to get her cleared before taking a drug her oncologist wants her to take, that they would going to find decay in one of her teeth and tell us she needs to have it pulled. My mother is nearly 82 and has excellent teeth. Only two tiny cavities and those having appeared only in the last few years. Yet here she is with decay hiding between two of her back teeth.
Nor could I have predicted I’d lock myself out of the house yesterday morning, but that happened too. Nor that today, when I was hanging out the laundry, a sock would drop and Quigley would pounce on it (he hasn’t done that in over a year I think) and I’d spend the next ten minutes chasing him to a standstill so I could get it back. Neither incident remotely measures up to the immensity of a Black Swan event, but in my life at least, they serve to illustrate that you really never know how things are going to come together to completely change the day. Or maybe the week, or month or even the rest of one’s life.
Cool! Instead of living in fear of the Black Swan events we can be assured that they were not a surprise to God, that He has everything under control. I tend to make plans and then bite my nails knowing that unpredictable factors will probably mess up my plans and that is half of the stress. I wish to sway the unswayable. God’s plan is firmly established and I may as well try and hold back the wind. If we could wrap our heads around it all, knowing that His plan takes precedence,those small disasters could be the accidental ingredient that makes a fabulous recipe! I’m planning for a big event right now so this is all very relevant. I have a certain list of possible disasters I would usually fret over and now I’m thinking…better to take it as it comes because there is no value in all my plans if they belong to me. His plan has value and purpose, why would I really want my own except to exalt myself? Bring my own security? Hmmm…