The butterfly effect

By Dave Henning / March 13, 2014

As Mark Batterson begins Chapter 6 (“Playing It Safe Is Risky”) of In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, he tells the story of an MIT meteorologist named Edward Lorenz.  In 1960 Edward was attempting to develop a computer program that could simulate and forecast weather conditions.  Usually he used the number .506127 in his calculations.  One day, however, Edward was in a hurry and rounded that number to .506, figuring the difference would be inconsequential.  When he returned, he found a radical change in weather conditions, the difference between the original and rounded numbers being equivalent to a puff of wind created by a butterfly’s wing- hence “the butterfly effect”.

In his book Chaos James Gleick defines the butterfly effect as follows: “Tiny differences in input [can] quickly become overwhelming differences in output.”  Pastor Batterson notes that what is true in science is true in life.  Small changes or choices become magnified over time and have a domino effect on our destiny.  He asserts that most good things that happen are the product of calculated, God-ordained risks.  Playing it safe is risky- the best one can do is break even.

The author believes it is better that discovering our calling is a long and arduous process- “because easy answers produce shallow convictions.”

Today’s question: As you revision your calling following your vocation loss, what God-ordained risks might you need to take?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Sink or sit”

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Dave Henning

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