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Wrong again

May 20, 2012

My wife and I watched the Preakness Stakes yesterday afternoon and saw I’ll Have Another, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, win by a nose and keep alive the hopes the horse would win the Triple Crown.  Our interest in horse racing is limited to watching the Kentucky Derby each year, if we have nothing else going on and if we remember, and then watching the Preakness, if we have nothing else going on and if we remember.  If, and only if, the same horse wins both we watch the Belmont Stakes, if we have nothing else going on and if we remember.

What struck me about the event is the wealth of experts who were making predictions before the race about who would win.  One prediction was a computer simulation of the entire race.  It got the winner wrong, as it did in the Derby, and as more than half of the experts did.  I was struck once again how, in the world of sports, there are a huge number of analysts and experts who are paid to predict results in every sport and how, as often as not, they are entirely wrong.  How you can make a living doing predictions based on your erudite sounding analysis but that have an accuracy little better than coin flips is beyond me, yet many do.

It is not just sports where this is so.  Business channels and websites give us numerous financial experts making stock predictions that are equally flawed.  Political junkies follow prognosticators on the left and the right who make similar predictions with similar accuracy.  Even in the church there are “end times” experts tying every obscure world event to Biblical passages and choosing the antichrist, predicting the rapture or whatever, often with dismal results.  I suppose it is a good thing that we don’t adhere to the Old Testament standard of stoning those who are wrong even once.

But what am I to make of this?  For one thing, it is clear to see the hunger people have to want to know what is coming.  And, at times, it would be great to know what is about to happen.  But if we think about it, more often than not, not telling us what is coming is an example of the grace of God.  When King Hezekiah was told his time was nearing an end he pleaded with God and was given 15 more years, years that were filled with fear and failure.  It may well be the same with us if we know what is coming.

But a more comforting conclusion is that we can take the dire predictions on the economy, war and terror, the future of the church and whatever with a grain of salt.  Sometimes people make predictions, even alarming ones, in good faith, seeking to help and advise us.  But sometimes too they make these predictions to manipulate us.  All we need to do is exercise our best judgment in how to live and let God be in control.  In this way when the experts are wrong, or even when I am wrong about what I anticipated, I can just shrug my shoulders, give a rueful smile, and say “Wrong again.”

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From → Christianity

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