Black Swan 2024?
By Hal Lindsey
Human beings mostly learn about the future by remembering the past. Whether five minutes ago or five millennia ago, history gives us patterns that we expect to continue. For Christians, history’s great pattern is that God is always right. That means we can completely trust His word. But both believers in Jesus and unbelievers expect to see the sun rise tomorrow morning primarily because it has always risen in the past. Humans can’t see beyond “now,” but we do make good guesses.
We predict the movement of heavenly bodies based on their past movements. That’s proven to be quite reliable. We expect the stock market to move according to forces that we can see and understand. That one is hit and miss. But, based on the past, we feel entirely certain that there will at least be a stock market tomorrow — though that could be wrong. We don’t know how well crops will do, but we know things planted and watered in the right soil and the right climate will tend to grow. We sow, and we reap.
All this works well… until it doesn’t. Sometimes something comes along that no one (or almost no one) predicted. We call it a Black Swan Event.
The idea started with a 2nd-century Roman poet known as Juvenal. He characterized something as being “as rare upon the earth as a black swan.” At that time, no one believed black swans existed. In English, “rare as a black swan” came to be a metaphor for something that never happens. In his 1902 book, Proverb Lore, Edward Hulme said people used the phrase “rare as a black swan,” to express “the greatest impossibility the speaker could imagine.”
Then, in 1697, Europeans finally saw actual black swans on the continent of Australia. And the meaning of “black swan” changed. It came to mean something difficult or impossible to have foreseen. According to dictionary.com, it means, “an occurrence or phenomenon that comes as a surprise because it was not predicted or was hard to predict.”
All this comes to mind because of something CBS News correspondent Catherine Herridge said on Face the Nation, Christmas Eve. “2024 may be the year of a black swan event,” she said. “This is a national security event with high impact that’s very hard to predict. There are a number of concerns that I have that factor into that. Not only this sort of enduring, heightened threat level that we’re facing, [but] the wars in Israel, also Ukraine. And we’re so divided in this country in ways that we haven’t seen before. And I think that just creates fertile ground for our adversaries like North Korea, China, and Iran. That’s what concerns me most.”
You’re not going out on a limb to say, “2024 may be the year of a black swan event.” Any year might have such an event. But she’s right that the United States is particularly vulnerable right now. It is deeply divided. Its military has been weakened by poorly directed spending and woke political considerations. Enemies have new tools with which to harm us. Also, the rage against America has grown substantially in just the last few months. Heightened rage often brings with it an increase in the enemy’s determination, perseverance, and in the cruelty of their tactics.
But the greatest danger facing America is its arrogant dismissal of the God whose blessings it daily squanders. Vast portions of the population spend their blessings from God on activities that demean humanity and exalt evil. In this, the US is joined by most of the world. At a time when the human race should be humbled before an unprecedented potential for destruction, nations arrogantly spit in God’s face at every opportunity.
If you are a Christian, walk close to Him this new year. Walk in the richness of His loving presence. Trust Him. Rejoice in Him. If you are not a Christian believer, meaning you don’t yet know Him as Savior, please understand that He will enter your life when you invite Him in. This is that time. Don’t wait. Invite Him now.