August 12, 2009 // Local

Weather or not

Come on, admit it. If you haven’t said it yourself, someone has said it to you. And you’ve laughed or agreed or added your own insult.

It must be nice to be a weatherman. You can be wrong most of the time and still keep your job.

Oh, those poor meteorologists. All of civilized mankind clings to their every word. Your entire day often depends upon what your local meteorologist tells you, and then it rains when it was supposed to shine, or you are terribly uncomfortable because it is much cooler than you anticipated.

“Once again, the weatherman is wrong!” we declare, and then laugh amongst ourselves at their ineptitude.

Well, the laugh is on us because we’ve been looking at this all wrong. I have a theory, and I think it’s a pretty good one. It’s the only one that makes sense to me, and I don’t know why others haven’t simply come to the same conclusion and adopted it.

Maybe God doesn’t want us to be able to predict the weather.

First of all, to conclude that these well educated individuals are somehow ignorant or deficient or lacking in the necessary means to do their job is a little silly. They are well educated. They have all the intelligence and available technology at their fingertips to provide the most accurate prediction of the weather.

Perhaps there’s simply a limit on how accurately a trained professional can forecast the weather.

Cari Peugeot, an Indiana University graduate and a meteorologist at WSBT-TV in South Bend, laughs at the stereotypes that come with the profession. She’s heard it all before.

The reality is that there are, as a meteorologist, numerous variables to consider, and those variables can change on a moment’s notice.

Say a storm is in Des Moines, Iowa and is moving at 37 miles per hour. The meteorologist predicts when it will arrive in South Bend or Fort Wayne.

But the speed of the system changes, and now it’s moving at 30 miles per hour. The topography of the land impacts the speed of the system. The colliding fronts precipitate changes. Suddenly, what looked like morning showers gets pushed back to the afternoon, or even dissipates before its scheduled arrival.

“You go back and look at the data, and you wouldn’t change a thing as far as how you evaluated it,” Peugeot said. “But there are so many contributing factors that can change the weather.”

Peugeot says that meteorologists can accurately predict the weather over a three-day span. But when you start getting into five- and seven-day forecasts, the unpredictability of the variables involved makes it very difficult to be accurate a week hence.

It’s not that I picture God holding the strings like a puppet master, taunting us as we clumsily try to predict what he controls. But we live in a world today where we believe we can control and manipulate everything to get our way. This simply isn’t one of them.

If I do this or say that, I will reach my desired outcome. If I eat less and exercise more, I’ll lose weight. If I intimidate him and brow beat her, I will get my way.

That doesn’t work when it comes to predicting the weather, and it certainly doesn’t work with God. Strong-arm tactics with God are futile. We are mere pieces of a puzzle that God controls, and predicting the weather is one of the largest pieces of all.

We humans are an intelligent, creative bunch. We figure out ways to figure things out, and as time goes on, our knowledge and accuracy of predicting the weather likely will improve.

But there is a limit to our human minds and bodies. No one can run a mile in a minute, no matter how much we improve our training methods.

God holds the key to everything that we do and understand. We can’t 100 percent accurately predict the weather because we can’t predict something God oversees. The sooner we accept that, the better off we’ll be.

If it rains in the west and north part of town, but not in the south and east, was the forecast for rain correct, or did those silly meteorologists miss the mark again?

Maybe that’s another one of those things that only God knows for sure. In fact, maybe we should find comfort in the fact that we can’t always predict the weather. That’s his department.

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