Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Butterfly Effect

The "Butterfly Effect", or more technically the "sensitive dependence on initial conditions" is a theory of small cause, big effect least in simple terms. The theory 
is derived from the theoretical example of a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings several weeks before. Could such a "reality" be true?

To be honest, I'm less about theories, and more about practical, literal, impacts these days. However, life has taught me that too much of that thinking, to the neglect of long-term impact thinking, can definitely lead to an altered lifestyle for my children and grand-children someday; whether positive or negative. This, too, is practical thinking. Balance.

So how do we learn to "think" beyond immediate needs? Is it selfish to make decisions for the here and now? Is it dismissive to think only of the future? Do decisions I make today really affect my children, grand-children, and future societies? Can one person have a ripple-like impact on culture and society? If so... how do I discern the difference? When are we making mountains of mole-hills, and when are those hills worth dying on?

As I keep discovering, the Scriptures of the true God exemplify very practical thinking. It is worth saying... God's word, while it certainly exists as a guide to our thinking (Psalm 119:105, 2 Tim. 3:16-17), serves a far more practical purpose; to glorify Him! I cannot substantiate this in one writing, nor can anyone else. Nor should you merely take my, or anyone's, word for it. I would encourage you to investigate / read for yourself. It'll take a lifetime, but I do not believe there is a greater pursuit than the truth. That said, here's a nugget to kick-start........

As I read the story, in scripture, of Pharaoh's "hard heart" ...I am reminded that it wasn't only his temporal life that he was making difficult. In his unwillingness to "let go and let God" he created an effect on his own people. "What happened to our plenty?" ...they must have surely asked as they dug for water while their beloved Nile was polluted. 

How often do our decisions affect those within our influence? I'd dare say... almost always; with lesser / greater effects, dependent. Our decisions, today, will post an effect on future generations. Teach me, Lord, to forego temporal thinking in exchange for the eternal ....and the wisdom to know the difference.

"So Pharaoh's heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile." (Exodus 7:22-24 ESV)