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December 18, 2020
I recently rode passed two young men who were so fascinated by Sam that I heard one of them called out, “The dog is wearing sunglasses!”
I stopped my bike, turned around, went back and gave them a coin with the Ten Commandments on it. One of them said that it was very cool, and that he was a Christian—but he hadn’t been born again. The other said he didn’t know much about God. When I asked them to come on camera, they said that they definitely wouldn’t. They were too shy.
When I asked permission to speak to them for a few moments off-camera, they were very congenial. Jeff was wearing a cross, so I asked him what it meant to him. He said that it was just a gift and didn’t mean anything. Juan said that he didn’t believe in the afterlife but that he wasn’t an atheist. When he said, “I believe in science. Nature made everything,” I said that it was scientifically impossible for nature to make itself. “For nature to make itself, it would have had to be pre-existent to make itself before it made itself, which is ludicrous.” Juan said, “I understand what you’re saying.”
As we went through the Commandments, they both realized they were in big trouble on Judgment Day. When I shared the good news of the cross, Juan opened wide his eyes and said that they had just been talking together about these sorts of things, and that he had hoped that somebody would stop and enlighten them.
They were showing interest, so I took advantage of their openness to share biblical truths. I asked if they could think of anything in which they had faith. After they had thought for a moment I butted in and said, “How about pilots? You get into planes and trust your life to people you don’t even know. You don’t walk into the cockpit and demand to see their credentials or do a breathalyzer test, in case they’d been drinking alcohol. You trust your life to them without a second thought.”
I prefer to fly in large planes because every day there are 87,000 flights in the U.S. without incident. However, many put their faith into smaller planes because they are more convenient. But there’s a little problem that may make us think twice before we step into them:
Nearly 45,000 people have been killed in crashes of small airplanes and helicopters since 1964, and while federal investigators overwhelmingly blame pilots, USA TODAY found repeated instances in which crashes, deaths and injuries were caused by defective parts and dangerous designs. The findings cast doubt on government rulings and reveal the inner workings of an industry hit so hard by legal claims that it sought and won liability protection from Congress. Our three-part USA TODAY investigation found wide-ranging defects have persisted for years as manufacturers covered up problems, lied to federal regulators and failed to remedy known malfunctions.1
Then I spoke to Jeff and Juan about how doctors give us pills and tell us to take two every four hours. We trust our lives to the medical profession with hardly a second thought. But there’s also a little problem with putting our trust in the medical profession:
MEDICAL ERRORS ARE THE third leading cause of death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer, causing at least 250,000 deaths every year, according to an analysis out Tuesday indicating that patient safety efforts fall far short.
“People don’t just die from heart attacks and bacteria, they die from system-wide failings and poorly coordinated care,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “It’s medical care gone awry.”2
I mentioned how we trust our lives to elevators, but that they too can sometimes let us down:
It’s a question many people are asking after two elevator accidents killed two women in two weeks. Last week, Annette Lujan was crushed by an elevator at Cal State Long Beach after she tried to climb out of a stuck car. On Wednesday, Suzanne Hart died after an elevator door in her Manhattan office building closed on her leg as she was stepping in and dragged her body up into the elevator shaft.
The incidents were tragic but also very rare. According to ConsumerWatch.com, “U.S. elevators make 18 billion passenger trips per year.” Those trips result in about 27 deaths annually, according to estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.3
I asked the two young men, “You know what death is, don’t you?” They both looked mystified by the question. “It’s the arresting officer, that drags us as criminals before the Judge of the Universe to give an account of violating God’s Law, and when found guilty we will be cast into God’s prison, a terrible place call Hell…without parole.”
The Mid-life Crisis
It’s not easy to have a midlife crisis. This is because we don’t know when we are at the middle-point of life. My crisis came when I was 21 years old—which wasn’t my mid-life.
The term “midlife crisis” was coined by Elliott Jaques in 1965, and is commonly described by Wikipedia as “psychological crisis brought about by events that highlight a person’s growing age, inevitable mortality, and possibly shortcomings of accomplishments in life.”
Notice the words “inevitable mortality.” In other words, we realize that we are going to die, and we can supposedly do nothing about it.
Human beings have an intuition for evasive action. If we see an 18-wheeler truck heading for us, we take evasive action. If we are in our right mind, we get out of the way.
It would seem that all we can do when it comes to death is eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. But that’s not getting out of the way of the truck; it’s merely stepping back from it to prolong the inevitable. We are still in its path.
But the Bible is unique in that it tells us that we can take evasive action because of what God has already done. It tells us that death is capital punishment. The judge of the universe proclaimed the death sentence upon the human race. The Scriptures say that the soul that sins shall die (see Ezekiel 18:20). We have violated God’s Law and we await execution.
However, Jesus destroyed the power of death. The Scriptures say that He has abolished death. It was not possible for death to hold Him.
The world calls death “The Grim Reaper.” Its sharp sickle cuts down every man and woman irrespective of their race, color, or creed. Every hair that goes gray or falls from a balding head, every eye that loses sharpness, or ear that loses hearing, or skin that wrinkles, is nature’s warning that God is serious about sin. Deadly serious. As each member of the body crumbles, it is a frightful warning-sign that death is approaching, and that should be a wake-up call to the gospel. But for most it’s not. They need the wrath of the Law to show them that something even more horrific than death awaits them, if they die in their sins.
Jeff and Juan were hopeless and helpless—about to starve to death. But there was grain in Egypt.
After sharing all these biblical truths, I left a grateful Jeff and Juan with coins, a signed book each, information about our movies, and a gift card. I thanked God for such a great time, and for some reason had the energy of a teenager as I rode my bike home.
Adapted from, How to Overcome Life’s Endless Trials.