WHAT A WAY TO LIVE!

by David Sisler

It is only a legend, but what a way to live! The man was sentenced to death, but he obtained a reprieve when he promised the king that within one year, he could teach the king's horse to fly. If the horse could not fly after 365 days, the stay of execution would be lifted and the man would die.

When a friend chided the man on the impossibility of his task, the man replied, "Within a year the king may die, or I may die, or the horse may die. In a year, who knows? Maybe the horse will learn to fly."

What a way to live concentrating on life's possibilities, rather than life's impossibilities!

Contrast that with the story of an eyewitness who survived an airplane crash. "The entire side of the airplane was knocked off by the crash," she said, "and 100 people just sat there looking out through the hole. They could have lived, if they had only scrambled through the opening to safety, but they wouldn't move!"

Those 100 people were not just an isolated incident.

A study conducted at Temple University surveyed 2300 children, ages seven to eleven. 15 percent of the children said they worry a lot. 25 percent said they were afraid to go outside and play. And 67 percent said they go to bed every night, afraid someone will break into their house and do them harm.

One more story. Seven people, four men and three women, boarded a 21-foot skiff and went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The first night they ran into heavy seas, with waves more than 12 feet high. The motor stalled. They panicked, shifted their weight, and capsized their boat.

One man grabbed a rope and tied it to the boat. "If we hang on," he said, "we will be saved." He continually urged them, "Don't give up." After seven hours, one of them gave up, drifted away and drowned. An hour later, a second. Within 24 hours, five of the seven, each wearing a life jacket, gave up and drifted away. The last two men clung to the rope for 48 hours and were rescued.

What a way to live! Paralyzed by the possibility of dying and so burning to death. Not yet in their teens and focusing almost completely on fear. Giving up the struggle and drifting away with rescue just over the horizon.

It is only a fable, but what gives some people courage to attempt something as impossible as teaching horses to fly? What gives some people the ability to move through danger to safety, to succeed in spite of fear, to hold on just a while longer?

Four women, Mary Magdalene, a second woman named Mary, Joanna, and Salome, gathered spices to complete the hasty burial preparations. There were no possibility thinkers in that group, no one there thought a horse could fly, or more basically, that a dead rabbi would live again. Their hearts were gripped by fear, their faces were colored by the anxiety we have all experienced the death of someone we loved.

As the Passover skies darkened, they only had time to make the most basic arrangements, place Jesus in a borrowed tomb, and watch Roman soldier's set Pilate's seal in place. Three days later, on the first day of the week, they walked in the dawn's early light to the grave.

Back in Jerusalem, eleven disciples were afraid they would be the next to die. Two of them walking to Emmaus expressed the doubts of all of them: "We trusted that He was Israel's Redeemer, and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done."

Then the women found the empty tomb and spread the good news. Peter and John ran to see. The two travelers felt their hearts burn at His presence. Behind locked doors defeated men breathed new life. They saw their risen Lord. They heard Him say, "It is I! Fear not!" They poured out of that upper room into the streets, and the world has never been the same.

All of the hype says the new millennium starts in 356 days. You know that the year 2000 is only the final year of the old millennium, the new millennium begins January 1, 2001. But so what? We are 356 days away from the explosion of the Y2K bomb and its potentially disastrous world-wide results. But so what? Your problems are not 356 days away. Your problems are now.

Study your difficulties through the eyes of the risen Lord. If He asks you to try, do you think you just might succeed? With His power, do you think you can conquer your fear? With His strength, do you think you can hold on? Besides, in a year, that horse just might learn to fly! What a way to live!

-30-

Published in the Augusta Chronicle 1/9/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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