I marvel at how swiftly the world can be rearranged.
A volcano in Iceland erupts. Thousands of flights are cancelled. Billions of dollars are lost to the airlines and all of the businesses associated with them. Untold numbers of social events are disrupted.
In a moment, an earthquake hits Japan and ultimately impacts hundreds of thousands of businesses all around the world which depend on Japanese parts. The world economy is abruptly restructured.
In Tunisia a code enforcement officer slaps and spits on a street vendor, taking his scales. He responds by setting himself on fire in the police station setting off a cascade of revolts across a dozen nations which has cost thousands of lives and caused a few governments to fall.
In Georgia and Alabama, life as you knew it is suddenly over when entire communities are reduced to rubble as tornadoes display a power which we have no tools to diminish, not even slightly.
In Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fires his head of intelligence, Heidar Moslehi. The Ayatollah Khamenei intervenes and orders him reinstated. The President is furious and boycotts all public events since them. And the Ayatollah is so distrusting of the President that he has blocked the President from giving a live speech on the economy next week, demanding that the speech be taped. This allows the Ayatollah to edit it as needed. There are MPs who have come out publicly calling for the president’s impeachment.
So how do you plan in a world this unstable? Let’s say you are the head of a nation, or an international consortium, or a local church or a mom and pop business. Every one of these events is out of your control. Yet every one is going to affect you a little or a lot, directly or indirectly.
What contingencies do you need to have in place as a good leader? How can you plot a course to implement your vision when there are endless variables in the world scene which can impact your project?
The answer is that in this world, long-range planning is less and less realistic and the prize goes to the companies that are the most nimble, capable of adjusting their activities swiftly to — in some way — leverage a profit out of changing social dynamics.
There is one exception to this world where variables reign and constants are becoming a distant memory: the Kingdom of God.
I find deep security and fierce pleasure in the fact that my King is not scrambling to implement a hastily conceived alternative plan. Psalm 33:10-11 NIV says, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”
We human leaders are being forced to be less proactive and more reactive. Our King is not being forced to make any adjustments.
We businessmen watch one income stream dry up and have to scramble to find a new one. Our King has a fixed objective and does not ever have to revise his five or ten-year plan.
We Christians struggle at times to find clarity in the toxic smog of conflicting voices. Our King does not need to listen. He speaks.
I find great comfort in having such a King. He plays a dominating game of chess on a 27 dimension chess board, encompassing not only the vagaries of the world we see, but also the whole other world we sense and feel, but don’t come close to understanding.
And He does it with ease.
THAT’S my King!
Copyright April 2011 by Arthur Burk
From the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim