Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Perilous Panic

Maybe the problem was that I stayed up too late. I am usually in bed at least by 11:00 or so, even on the weekends. Friday night, I was not really sleepy. I worked on my cross stitching a while, and watched a show that was not that interesting. Then, about midnight, I was almost ready to call it a night just because decent people are usually already asleep by now. While I was putting away my sewing, another show began that caught my eye. It was about the science behind a super comet impacting the earth and the devastating aftermath. Another one of those shows, I thought, where they pummel you with statistics and predictions until you are so confused that you run into the yard screaming, praying that a super comet would put you out of your misery. This show, however, was very different.

It was a docudrama that followed people from four different points in the world in the weeks before and after a super comet collides with earth. The failed attempt of the space programs to explode the comet with a nuclear warhead is really what hooked me. I think we all live with the assurance that even in the face of major disaster, those people “in charge” will come up with a solution that will allow us all to continue our lives with a sense of normalcy. During the aftermath of 9/11, we were all glued to our televisions watching our country pull together. Disaster relief teams, human goodwill, government authority restoring order; these were the evidences that someone, somewhere was in charge and calling the shots. How would you feel if there was no clear authority on the subject? No one with an idea, no one with a plan, no one with the assurance to tell you that the future was going to be better…this is where our docudrama characters were when the last hope failed. The comet was not deterred by the best plans of men and they were all left waiting for the impact and the uncertain aftermath.

The aftermath was devastating. Of course, the immediate loss of life from the impact was overwhelming. But for those who survived, it was the ensuing circumstances that were surreal. All communications were fried from the electromagnetic wave that encircled the earth. Shock waves leveled cities and massive tidal waves obliterated coastlines for hundreds of miles inland. The impact disrupted the climate of the entire world. Depending on where they were located on the planet, survivors faced temperatures from 50 below zero to 200 degrees. Fire rained down from the skies as debris from the comet impact re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. All social and lawful infrastructures broke down as people moved underground to survive. Life resembled nothing that our main characters had ever seen before.

When I watch anything gripping, it is easy for me to put myself in the place of the characters. I must tell you that sitting alone in my living room in the wee hours of the morning, I was gripped with fear. It was a physical fear that caused my heart to lodge in my throat. There was even a sense of panic as the events unfolded in front of me. It was almost irrational. On one level, I knew that I was watching a television show. On the other hand, the drama part of this show was interlaced with interviews from scientists confirming that this sort impact had happened before, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs and the Ice Age. They said it was inevitable that it would happen again…it was just a matter of when. And they are the authorities, right?

As I sat there in the moments following the drama, I struggled with my inner turmoil. Things seem so much worse in the middle of the night and I was wondering if I should go ahead and start stockpiling my underground secret shelter. My problem, I eventually surmised, was the power I was attributing to the unknown future. A lot of our battles are waged in the recesses of our own minds. We give something power by focusing our time and attention on it. What we don’t realize is that as we give something power in our mind, we turn away from the power of the Lord. God is all powerful and we only have to turn toward it and bask in its glory to see it. David knew this power and mentioned it all through the Psalms. He admonished us to focus on this perfect power. In Psalm 66: 3-4 he says, “Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you. All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.’ ” Now that is powerful! Our God is powerful! Does that mean natural disasters will never occur? No, but know that our God is still in control even when the world around us does not make sense or it makes so much sense it scares us silly.

And what of our docudrama characters? Well, most of them made it, resilient and hopeful for the future. Their lives had forever changed, never to return to the sense of normalcy they once knew. I am so thankful that our future is not resting in the hands of our leaders to save us, for they are men just like us and capable of making mistakes no matter how good the data seems to be. I am thankful that our future, even though unknown to us, is safe and secure in the hands of our God. No matter what awaits us, whether it be small personal tragedy or a catastrophic meteor hurtling toward Earth, we know that God is in control and he works everything to our good and for his purpose (Romans 8:28).

1 comment:

Gayle said...

Hey girl!
Just wanted to pop in and say hi!
Great post...I especially love the part that speaks of giving power to our fears rather than our Lord. Good insight.