This posting will depart a little from my usual, in that here I’m responding to a question posed by a fellow Wordpress blogger, Beauty Beyond Bones. Hoping I won’t offend her, I’ll shorten her handle to BBB.

 

Despite the fact that she’s at least three generations younger than me, I greatly enjoy her postings. Perhaps her health problems have given her a maturity that goes beyond her years.

 

In her latest posting BBB spoke of her Christian faith, describing how the misery of her health situation left her with no choice but to hold fast to that faith. It’s a valid reason. As she continued, she noted that God can take it from there, dealing with pride issues.

 

Her thoughts remind me of Peter, and of how he responded to Jesus in John 6:63-68 after He spoke to them of the Spirit:

 

“It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who don’t believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who didn’t believe, and who should betray Him. And He said, Therefore I said to you that no man can come to Me, except it were given to him of my Father.

 

“From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered Him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

 

Peter knew that there was nowhere else for him to turn – that he would be desolate without Jesus.

 

Some very wonderful Christians have come to God in ways that are close to BBB’s. Among them is the late Charles Colson, a brash ex-Marine (Semper Fi) a member of President Nixon’s staff who went to jail for his part in the Watergate fiasco. Stripped of his pride there and in emotional desolation, he turned to God. In his book Born Again, he described his coming to Christ as a “foxhole conversion”. From the remarkable life that followed, people the world over saw in him the love of God. Like Peter and BBB, he came to God under stressful conditions, but then God took it from there to place His love into Colson’s heart. And that reminds me of the immortal words of Ruth:

 

“And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to turn away from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God, my God. Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.”

 

At the end of her post, BBB raised a question, inviting her readers to respond. Her question was this: “How do you keep God in your life?

 

BBB, I respond to you by claiming three basic reasons for my Christian faith in the face of a family for the most part committed to agnosticism at best, and of my living in a world committed to secularism. The first of these reasons is personal, being the direct and obvious intervention of God to get me out of some serious jams. The second is the supernatural character of Scripture, including its amazing consistency and prophetic accuracy. The third, like the first, is personal, involving the love of God toward me, and my responsive love toward Him.

 

As for the first reason, I have always had a love for adventure but, unfortunately, I’m rather clumsy. I have a history of getting into difficulty with devices that move, with the result that I’ve gotten into a lot of jams. The good part of that is that I’ve given God a whole lot of chances to intervene to the rescue. God has handled many of these opportunities with a good dose of humor.

 

In my college years I commuted on a motorcycle, a Triumph 650, the precursor to the popular Bonneville. One day a car turned left in front of me, causing me to crash into her grille. Helmetless, I flew off the bike, leaving my shoes behind and heading directly toward a fire hydrant. My journey there was interrupted by a telephone pole, which I grazed with my chin. Although that encounter did nothing but break off a chip of bone, it put me into a flat spin that caused me to land on a grass strip and roll into the hydrant with my side instead of my head. The entire incident involved a millimeter-level precision that allowed me to live instead of die. In my mid-thirties I tried to carry a log much too big for me, with the result that for three years I was virtually a cripple, suffering under an almost unbearable back pain. One day I decided to go skiing anyway, which led to an excess of pain and caution causing me to go down the slope in a straight line, building up so much speed that when I crashed I cratered in like a bomb. Rather than aggravating my pain, it healed me. I’m pretty sure that God had a hand in that. My wife Carolyn and I still have a bike, a Goldwing, on which we have taken several major trips. On one such trip we found ourselves next to an ancient dump truck. Its worn out rear tire couldn’t handle the weight of the load and it exploded, sending shrapnel in all directions our way. We could see pieces whizzing past us, but not one piece hit Carolyn or me. On that same freeway, a car suddenly swerved to the right in front of us, exposing us to a ladder on the roadway. There was a jerk on the handlebars, and we missed the ladder by less than an inch. The jerk didn’t come from me. I know my limitations. In my early thirties, I took up flying. Among other things, I had an engine-out on takeoff on a very busy airfield in the middle of a very crowded city. I’m still here. Later I borrowed my twin brother’s ultralight and ran into a wind shear where I became the ball in an intense and protracted game of ping-pong. I don’t know how the craft remained intact. In the hang gliding community the phrase “Oh SHIT!” is repeated with distressing frequency. These words are mostly shouted when failing to hook in before launching off, looking at the face of a cliff, approaching a fence, landing on a cow or, like me, tumbling down to earth in a rotor. The glider hit the ground head-first, ripping my hands off the downtubes and crashing my head into the keel. It was eleven weeks before I could raise my arms above the horizontal, and there’s a bulb on my left arm where the tendons separated from the bones and left a useless muscle. But I’m still here. And I had taken Carolyn flying with me before that incident where she realized that I wasn’t to be trusted.

 

There have been many other incidents, in all of which I’ve seen the Hand of God along with a gentle chuckle. It’s a wonderful intimacy.

 

I’ll continue with my response in the next posting.

 

[to be continued]

Published by Art Perkins