Safe By A Degree

Safe By A Degree

Building codes, engineering plans, and quality standards can be the difference in your safety. We have learned through experience and intelligent design how to protect ourselves from a host of problems. Where I live, it’s volcanoes, earthquakes, and landslides – most of which you cannot prevent against some and only hope you survive the event.

Someone who lived through Hurricane Harvey described how one neighborhood community was spared the brunt of the storm surge because the storm blew just slightly off the reported heading.

Yes. All of man’s ingenuity played a part in the safety of so many, but it was the ultimate direction and power of the storm that caused the worst damage. A slight degree change and who knows how this one community would have faired.

This short conversation a few nights ago got me to thinking about how we work hard on preparing our life for success and keeping us pointed in positive directions. We strive to make good decisions, and we seldom look over our shoulder at the past and say, “If only…”

But a storm can ruin just about everything!

You never expect to contract that disease, or the stock market to take a dive, or that storm to pound on you.  All it takes is a slight degree change, or a percentage of negative difference, and you either end up slipping through by the skin of your teeth, or you suffer great loss.

A slight degree or percentage of difference leaves you with either success or failure.

A headline in the USAToday paper at the hotel says, “I’ve seen seven suicide explosions in my life. But this was the most devastating.” (Talking about the terror attack in Mogadishu.)

Think about it. You’ve experienced how many storms? Was one worse than others? By what degree can you identify the strength difference? If you lived just a few miles in either direction what would have been the result?

There are too many variables to calculate! A few engineering changes and no building will stand to the onslaught. A dam burst from too much water in the reservoir and the down stream neighborhoods will be devasted, regardless of storm damage.

I was thinking about all of this and considering how close to disaster we too often find ourselves, and then by only the slightest degree of difference, we are safe.

Mountain climbers test their equipment all the time, but one missed fraying, and they will suffer greatly if the rope fails at the wrong time.

Even driving down the road. Slow reaction time due to distracted driving, “Officer, I never saw the red light! Honestly!”

It was Solomon who stated, “Time and chance happens to all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  But the next verse says sometimes its simply life that happens to all.

For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them.“ (Ecclesiastes 9:12)

Sometimes, life is nothing more than the luck of the draw, or the slightest degree change that gives us success or failure.