Thursday, February 16, 2006

You Just Never Know

Last year I was speaking at a retreat and found myself without a book to read. That is a very terrible thing indeed for me, because I am not always good at meeting new people and mingling with them. I much prefer to hole up with a book and come out when it's time to speak.

So, I was a little unnerved at the thought of having to go a full weekend without the comfort I find in books. And that's when God miraculously intervened, and I found a book on my nightstand. It was titled THE WORST-CASE SCENARIO SURVIVAL HANDBOOK by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht.

This little book contains the most bizarre advice ever assembled: How to escape from quick-sand; how to hot-wire a car; how to fend off a shark; how to escape from a mountain lion; how to jump from a building into a dumpster; how to deliver a baby in a taxicab; how to survive if your parachute fails to open. Bizarre and fascinating, this book contains actual lists of what you can and should do if you ever find yourself in a life-or-death situation. Here's what the author says in the Preface:

"The principle behind this book is a simple one: You just never know.

"You never really know what curves life will throw at you, what is lurking around the corner, what is hovering above, what is swimming beneath the surface. You never know when you might be called upon to perform an act of extreme bravery and to choose life or death with your own actions.

"But when you are called, we want to be sure that you know what to do. And that is why we wrote this book."

You just never know.

A young college graduate gets sick and can't seem to shake it. He starts experiencing double-vision and night-sweats, goes to the doctor and discovers that he has Hodgkin's Disease. You just never know.

A wife and mother comes home to find her furniture out on the lawn and her husband in the back of a police squad car -- he's been arrested for embezzling money from his company, and they've been evicted from their home. You just never know.

Fifty years ago last month, a team of missionaries decided to take the gospel to a group of people in the jungle of eastern Ecuador. After several friendly encounters, five of the missionaries were found hacked to death by the very people they were trying to reach. You just never know.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had no idea what life was going to throw at them. They probably thought life was going to be a certain way, but it didn't turn out the way they thought it would. Things seemed to be going pretty well. They'd been promoted and enjoyed some measure of influence and power in their world.

And then things changed all of a sudden, and they found themselves in the middle of a Worst-Case Scenario.

What do you do when life throws you a curveball? When the parachute fails to open, and your worst nightmare turns into a reality?

You never know when you might be called to do something heroic or sacrificial. But when you are called, God wants to be sure that you know what to do. And that is why he wrote his book.