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That was Lee Risler’s problem according to the Associated Press1. Mr. Risler, a 53-year-old sandal maker, was driving from his high desert home in Lucerne Valley, California to Hermosa Beach to sell his wares at a craft fair, when the accident occurred. For some reason, Risler’s van veered off Interstate 605, overturning in a ditch, very early in the morning. For the next 2 1/2 days Mr. Risler was trapped, his left arm pinned outside the van between the door and some trees.

Fortunately, he was freed by a California Department of Transportation worker, who happened to spot his Ford van tucked among some trees a few yards off the freeway, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

To say the least, Mr. Risler was very thirsty and was bleeding from his hand. He told the rescue workers he was so desperate he tried to cut off his pinned hand with a pocketknife in an attempt to struggle free.

This brings me to my point. What would you do if you were in a similar situation? We have all heard of people falling into wells, trapped in pipes, caught in snow drifts, etc. My elderly great uncle fell between his bed and the wall of his trailer, and he was unable to get up for a little over two days, but fortunately my mother sent my older brother to check on him. What would you do under desperate circumstance in order to save your life? Cut off your hand?

Jesus once said, “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:8-9).

Yes, under extreme circumstances people have cut off or left behind precious things in order to save their physical lives. But, what if you were headed to suffer the eternal agony of being separated from your loving Creator? What would you need to cut out of your life to make sure you were with him forever? Forsake a sin and turn away from doing evil? Break off a wrong relationship and develop good ones? Repent of harmful attitudes and develop healthy ones?

Jesus in this passage is using hyperbole. He is exaggerating to make a point. For people normally don’t deliberately cut off their appendages because of a sin, unless you have some type of pathology. Now, what if you have a sin in your life that is keeping you from having a personal relationship with God. Would you cut it out of your life and get rid of it?

In the culture of Jesus’ day the hands and feet stood for purposeful actions and eyes covered the area of emotions or thoughts. Is there an activity keeping you from coming to God’s Son, Jesus of Nazareth? Is there an attitude, bias or philosophy blinding you to the need to draw close to the Almighty?

Before you put this article down, take the time to examine your life and see what questionable activities or ideas there might be blocking you from coming into a relationship with your Father in heaven. Jettison them! Purge them from your life and come to the living God. Do what is good and right, and make peace with the Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ right now.

If you do, I assure you, you’ll be eternally thankful you did. Praise the Lord!

Pinned Man Tries to Cut Off Hand

Downey, Calif. (AP) - Trapped for days in a crashed van as traffic whizzed by only a few feet away, Lee Risler got so desperate he tried to cut off his pinned hand with a pocketknife.

Risler’s van veered off Interstate 605 and overturned in a ditch around 3 a.m. Saturday. The 53-year-old sandal maker spent the next 2 1/2 days stuck there, his left arm trapped outside the van between the door and some trees.

Risler was freed around noon Monday when a California Department of Transportation worker spotted his 1991 Ford hidden by trees a few yards off the freeway, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Risler complained of a tremendous thirst and was bleeding from the hand, but he was coherent, rescue workers said. He told them he began cutting at the wrist and fingers of his left hand, struggling to get free.

“He did more damage to his arm than the accident," Downey Fire Department Battalion Chief Chuck Seely said "This guy was definitely in desperation."

Rescue workers rushed Risler to the St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he was in fair condition late Monday.

Risler was driving from his high desert home in Lucerne Valley to sell sandals at a craft fair in Hermosa Beach when the accident occurred.

Source: Omaha World-Herald, Tuesday, 3.21.00, Metro Ed., National News, pg.3.

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