Crisis events of significant impact that are hard to predict are known as black swans. Black swan events are novel; they are outliers. They cannot be predicted based on previous events or forecasting. Victims of black swan events often argue the event was predictable, though it was not.Black swans can be hard for people to accept. For Christians, there can be concern for, and questioning of, the Lord’s control in these kinds of catastrophic events. This can cause Christians to spiritualize black swan events in an attempt to mitigate their personal fear and doubt.

So how should we see the power and presence of God in black swan events?

        First, while the character of God is unchanging, the way God deals with humanity DOES change. God intentionally uses black swan events to reveal the very nature and purpose of His singular and eternal will–and God does so through critical events yet unimagined.       Second, black swans should remind us that God wants His people to be adaptable. Christians demonstrate their faithfulness to God by being adaptable to changes in both their situations environment. Paul speaks of his preparation for the unknown in Philippians 4:11-12 when he says, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”       Third, black swans should remind us that God wants His people to prepared. Black swans also demonstrate the Christian’s love for others as they are prepared to serve their fellow man in times of need. James 1:27 speaks of this when James says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” And Paul in 1 Timothy 5:8 plainly states, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”       Finally, because the Lord may not grant foresight into black swan events, this is precisely why Jesus warns us to “count the cost” of serving Him. Whether it is the logistics of building a tower or the terrible consequences of going to war, if we are not prepared at one level or another for a critical event or its consequences, we can quickly become irrelevant to God’s plans to bless and save. If fact, Jesus says we are the equivalent of being salt that has lost its taste—not only useless, but irrelevant (Luke 14:28-34).

Remember: With every black swan event, God’s nature is on display. And when your combine God’s nature with God’s sovereignty, it only takes one black swan to show that not all swans are white.

In Christ,

Scott Brawner