Leaving Salem

Leaving Salem

Learning to Let Go

There are things in our life that are very, very good. Money, family, jobs, church, possessions, friends: These are all good and in many cases irreplaceable, but you cannot build your life on these things and expect your life to sustain itself. These can all turn to sand. Money vanishes a lot quicker than we can make it. Consult the year-end statement from your broker if you do not believe me. Fortunes, retirement accounts, mutual funds all wash away these days. If your life is built on such things, you may not have much to live for.

Our families are one of God’s great gifts to us. But spouses can prove unfaithful, children ungrateful, and parents unmovable, leading to the worst frustrations. If you build your life on these things, your house can easily collapse in on top of itself. And your job? Forget it. Consult the unemployment numbers. Yes,  friends can forsake you. Possessions can be lost. Churches can rip your heart from your chest. Homes can be repossessed. Automobiles can be destroyed. Partners and lovers can disappoint. Your health can fail you. None of these things are worthy enough or substantial enough to hold your life together when the rains falls, the winds blow, and the waters rise.

The glue that holds life together in the hardest and stormiest of times is the way of Christ. Don’t trust your broker. Don’t trust your boss. Don’t trust your best friend. Don’t trust your pastor or priest. Trust Jesus. Cling to him, and even if everything else is lost, even your life, you will still be found standing – not because you are an expert builder – but because the bedrock of your life is certain and sure; it’s not sand.

The emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson Rivera few years ago was one of the most incredible things any of us have ever seen. Every time you get on an airplane, either by video or intercom a flight attendant tells you what to do “in the event of a water landing.” I always look at Sky Mall magazine during this portion of the program because my flights rarely take me across large bodies of water. I think I’ll pay closer attention next time. A few people on Flight 1549 were paying attention. All one hundred fifty-five people on the flight survived with only a few injuries.

Those survivors all have a similar tale to tell. Everything went from normal into the toilet, literally, in less than four minutes. And one of the reasons people remained so calm, not only because of the pilot’s training and the flight attendants’ leadership, was because of the speed of the entire event. And because of the nature of the crash, with rising water just outside the windows and in the tail of the plane, outside of a few panicked passengers, everyone got quickly out with no thought for what they were leaving behind. Some passengers stopped to grab their bags from the overhead bins, but they were quickly shooed away by those with clearer thinking.

Experts say that when a crash takes place and there are survivors on board, evacuation is often crippled because a passenger is reaching up to take a suitcase or laptop out of the overhead bin. Pay attention to that pre-flight speech and what you should do is very clear. Unfasten your seat belts. Proceed to an emergency exit. And do not take anything with you. That’s what those survivors did, and it made all the difference. Studies show everyone has approximately 90 seconds to get out of a crashed airplane. So what is more important? Your stuff, or your life?

You can build upon or cling to all these things – important things, yes – but things that will drown you if you cling to them once the plane has crashed. Get yourself to solid ground and let the rest go.

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