Flying used to be exciting but now, half-a-century after my maiden flight, I sometimes question why I put myself through the gauntlet of an airport. Wouldn’t it be more fun to drive and pick my route? Wouldn’t it be better to pick where and what I want to eat? Instead, I submit myself to confining my elbows close to my sides, struggling to lift that pretzel to my mouth without disturbing the stranger next to me.
This flight would be short, hopefully no more than the scheduled two hours. I had chosen the right side of the plane anticipating the great view that the clear weather was promising. I always made a game of trying to figure out where I was and which landmark or town was coming up or on the horizon. Looking out the window was always more entertaining than the recycled television sitcoms that the airline offered as entertainment.
Beverage service had finally reached my row. My soft drink was secure on my tray. The pretzels were open. Suddenly the plane rolled counterclockwise. The horizon moved down in my window as the blue sky filled the window completely. Before I could reach out for my glass the horizon returned to my window, only it remained near the top and the rest of the window was filled with blue. We were upside down.
But nothing else changed. The beverage cart was still in the aisle, the attendant serving drinks. My glass had not left the tray and was still full of ice and diet cola. No one else seemed to notice. Up was down, down was up, but all of everything else remained normal. There was no pull against my seat belt, nothing came out of the seat pocket in front of me and the sitcom on the monitor continued in its lame laugh track.
Was this my imagination? Was I the only one to notice? No! Others with window seats remarked at how different the ground looked, looking up!
Finally, an announcement, the airline was experimenting with a new anti-gravity equipped plane. Part of the experiment was to see what kind of reaction the passengers would have. What kind of a jerk was this pilot?
After about thirty minutes of upside down flying, the plane rolled counterclockwise again. The ground zipped by in my window, within seconds the upper part of my window was full of blue and the horizon returned to its home at the three-quarter mark. Again there was no warning from the pilot, no indication from the crew that anything out of the ordinary had occurred.
Our flight landed on time. No one talked about the experiment. No one complained to the crew or the airline. Everyone deplaned as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, but it had.
My car’s fuel tank was nearly empty, so I stopped at the gas station closest to the airport. This station was also a convenience store as most are. Whatever happened to the service station where you could get your car worked on? Nowadays you always have the opportunity to fill up your belly every time you fill up your tank!
I was nearly done as I heard yelling coming from within the store. I was thankful for pay-at-the-pump. The yelling became louder and more heated. As I stepped around the pump to see what the commotion was about, a shot rang out from within the store. I jumped back behind the pump not really thinking that it was gun fire. But it was.
A young lady was now running out the door of the store. At first I thought she as an innocent bystander as was I. But I caught a glimpse of something dark in her hand. I had moved out from behind the pump and now was facing the fleeing lady. She looked up and at the same time raised the gun. A blast of fire, a loud explosion and the sound of my body hitting the pavement all ran together in the same instant. As I watched the young lady running off down the road, I was reminded of being upside down in the airplane as my view now was from the ground up.
I laid there wondering if I would live and thought surely I must be in shock because I felt no pain. She couldn’t have missed from that distance as I was looking straight down the barrel of her gun. But where was the pain, where was the blood, where was I shot?
I finally worked my way to my feet. Standing I felt myself for the wound that must surely be there. I took off my jacket and patted my chest, nothing! As I began to put my jacket on, I saw a hole that didn’t used to be there, right through the outer layer and the inner breast pocket. A matching, but larger, hole was directly in line but exiting through the back of my jacket.
I had been shot, but I wasn’t shot. The store clerk had been shot, and he was shot! Blood was covering him and the area near the cash register. I know because when the police arrived they interviewed me in the store. The clerk would be okay, the EMT said as they loaded him into the vehicle. But the police didn’t believe that I was shot. The only evidence were holes in my coat but none in my body.
That night I tossed and turned with visions of a gun blast flaring in my closed eyes. Finally I drifted off to sleep. I woke late, yet unrested. Too much excitement for one day; today would have to be mild. The fish have not been biting in our lake for weeks, so I thought what better way to avoid excitement than to go fishing.
Our dock was empty, as was normal. The fishing was bad, as was normal, but as expected. After a couple hours of no action I was starting to get into the groove. I calmed myself, thought little about the events of yesterday and dreamed of what a fish may actually look like.
Without warning my pole nearly flew off the dock. Had it not been anchored to my chair it certainly would have. I grabbed for it and could see that whatever was on the line needed the line more than I. I loosened the drag and let the line go out but continued to take up all the slack. After nearly an hour the fight appeared to be over.
I tightened the drag and began to reel in the prize. At first I thought it must be some relic from the bottom of the lake because of its dark coloring. But that made no sense as it had put up quite the fight for the last hour. Then I saw a rounded snout, some white, a huge fin and a tail that looked lethal. An Orca! An Orca? In a lake? Not possible! But there it was, laying on the surface of the water, eyeing me. I swear it smiled at me.
Then after a sucking sound, a gush of water came out of its blow hole, as if a fire hose had been directed at me. The force of the water pushed me back. The dock wet and slippery, I lost my footing and down I went. The beast rose on its tail, twisted in mid-air and the resulting splash nearly sank the dock.
After the waves subsided, the stillness of the air was matched by the smoothness of the surface of the lake. All was quiet. All except my heart which was thumping a fast beat against the boards of the dock.
Have you ever had two days like mine? Do you believe me? If I were to try to convince you of the truth of these events would you trust anything else that I had to say? How is my credibility doing? If I maintained that these things were absolutely real, absolutely true actual occurrences, would I have any credibility? I certainly would hope not!
I have but one more story, this based on what I learned in history class when I was young. We learned that 700 years ago, Christopher Columbus “discovered the new world” as he sought out a shorter route to the East. We were taught what is now called the “myth of the flat earth.” Columbus was one of the few who apparently believed the world was not flat; there was no edge to fall off of. So his expedition set off west to find the East. We know the outcome. Now, imagine this setting: you are living in the year 1880. You learn of Christopher Columbus’ discovery but also learn that he believed space travel was possible. And that after getting to Japan and China, he would be able to gather enough explosive material to power a ship to fly to the moon! Would he have been considered sane at all? No, just a lucky crazy guy! But today, with what we know about traveling to the moon, Christopher would have been considered the greatest prophet of all time!
Seven-hundred years before Jesus Christ was born, God had Isaiah the prophet write down these promises:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:6-7 (ESV)
If someone were to predict events that can be proven to be real, even hundreds of years before they occurred and have them occur as specified, would that person have credibility? And if that person were to specify that they cannot lie, would you not only have to believe the things that can be proved as well as the things that cannot?
That is faith, faith in the reliability of the one making the statement. If they can be proven to be true, and proclaimed to be honest, then all of what they say must be true. It doesn’t matter if you can understand it, you must accept it as true, you must trust.
God has been proven trustworthy, proven trustworthy by confirmation of historical facts and the keeping of His promises. If one accepts that God is who He says He is, one must also accept all He says as true. Because of His nature and who He is, He cannot lie.
If someone says he believes that Jesus came to die for our sins and came alive again, he already believes the hardest thing to believe: that Jesus came alive again and lives on. No one has ever done that except Jesus. If you can believe this, and that God planned that from before people were created, which His Word teaches He did, then you must believe ALL of what else He says.
Choosing only to believe what is convenient is not really believing. It is only wishful thinking, and humanistic rationalization. We should not expect to understand something far greater than we are able, we must simply accept and believe. If we say we believe, but not all of it, we don’t truly believe.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began. Titus 1:1-2 (ESV)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name John 20:31 (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (ESV)