by David Sisler

"Folks this is the Captain. I've just turned off the seat belt signs. For your comfort, while you remain in your seat, I would like you to keep your seat belt fastened. We are cruising at 39,000 feet. In just a few minutes, if you look out the right side of the aircraft, you'll be able to see the Grand Canyon."

G. F. Gardiner, like every other passenger on board, heard the announcement. He had a window seat and was anxious to see the Grand Canyon, so he loosened his seat belt about eight inches, and looked out the window.

Moments later a piece of debris broke loose from engine number three and struck the window beside of Mr. Gardiner. As the cabin of the airplane suddenly depressurized, he was sucked out the 10 inch by 16 inch hole that had been his window. Of the 128 passengers on board, he was the only one who was hurt in any fashion. The victim of a one-in-a-trillion accident, his body has never been found.

In 1916 San Diego County was suffering the worst drought in recorded history. Charlie Hatfield claimed to be a rainmaker. "For $10,000 I can fill up the marina reservoir," he said. "It holds 18 billion gallons. If I fill it up, you owe me $10,000. If I don't, you don't owe me a dime."

The officials of San Diego County accepted Charlie Hatfield's offer. He set up his equipment on the banks of the reservoir and began his work. Suddenly there was deluge, the greatest rainfall in the history of the county. There was a flood so great, that for days San Diego could only be reached by boat. Within 30 days, the marina was completely filled.

The officials of San Diego refused to pay the $10,000. The rainfall was an act of God, they said. Charlie died in 1958 at age 82, still claiming he had been gypped. Twenty years later, a four-acre park was dedicated to Charlie Hatfield, the rainmaker. In one of those little ironies that make life so interesting, on the day of the dedication, it drizzled just a little.

Sammy believed in total fate. "Everything we do," he said, "is planned out in advance. We are just following the plan." Well, as luck, or fate, would have it, one day Sammy fell down a flight of stairs, and knocked himself unconscious. He suffered a concussion, broke his arm, and dislocated several vertebra in his back. When he woke up in the hospital, Sammy looked at the cast and the IV lines and said, "Boy, I'm glad that's over with!"

Those three vignettes describe life as most people live it, or life as they think it has to be lived accident, act of God, or fate. Did you know that is not the way life really is?

Israel had just entered Canaan, the Promised Land. It took 40 years, but they were home. Moses recited God's instructions.

"Obey the Lord your God," Moses said. "Carefully follow all His commandments. Then all these blessings will come and stay with you. You will be blessed in the city and in the country. You will be blessed when you come in and when you go out. Your enemies will attack you from one direction. But they will run from you in seven directions. If you obey Him, the Lord will bless everything you do!"

That does not sound like fate, or accident, or an act of God which turns us into robots. That sounds like the grace of God which comes to the man or woman who trusts God and who obeys Him voluntarily. It is a grace that says, "Love me so I can bless you beyond your wildest imaginations."

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," Jesus said, "and all these things food, clothing, provisions will be added to you. But the thing you should want most is God's kingdom and doing what God wants. If you trust Him, God will give you the things you need."

Accident, act of God, or fate. That's one way to live. Obedience, trust, and love. That's God's way to live. How are you living?


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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