Summary: Survival in this life is not a matter of being fit, but a matter of being faithful to God.

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INTRO.- ILL.- The backwoods preacher found a small boy all alone, playing in the dirt. "Where’s your father?" the preacher asked. The boy said, "He was hanged last week."

"Where’s your mother?" "She run off."

"Where’s your sister?" "She’s in jail."

"Is there anybody else in your family?" "Yup, I’ve got a brother."

"Where is he?" "At Harvard University."

"Well, at least one member of your family is doing well. What is he studying?" "Nothin’. They’re studying him."

Brethren, that boy had to be discouraged with life! WE ALL MUST ADMIT THAT LIFE CAN GET PRETTY DIFFICULT AT TIMES. Life is a tough course even when things are going well for us.

Look at we are faced with these days: terrorism, war, anthrax scare, job layoffs, personal problems, etc.

ILL.- The terrorism of 911. Three-quarters of the victims were men. The average age of those killed was 40. Most were in their 30s and 40s, prime parenting age. Some were new fathers; others, like Deanna Galante, who was eight months pregnant, were expecting children.

A total of 230 were vice presidents at major financial institutions. At least 130 victims were brokers of one sort or another. Three hundred forty-three of the missing and dead were firefighters.

"Since Sept. 11, you are either at work or you’re at a funeral," said Tom Jensen, a New York deputy fire chief. There were also salesmen, housekeepers, engineers and janitors, as well as dozens of cooks, military accountants, electricians, secretaries and travel agents.

Eight children died. The youngest was 2-year-old Christine Hanson of Groton, Mass., who was on her first trip to Disneyland. She was killed along with her parents on one of the airplanes hijacked out of Boston.

Forty-one were over 65. The oldest was retiree Robert Norton, 82, of Lubec, Maine, who was aboard one the airliners with his wife, Jackie Norton, on their way to a wedding in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Besides the 911 terrorism, we are at war. Again. We know about war. Our beloved country has experienced many of them. Wars exist because hatred exists and the devil is alive and well on planet earth.

We have the anthrax scare. Many people are worried to death about it.

Job layoffs seem to be at an all-time high. It is said that the number of Americans laid-off from their jobs rose from 8,000 to 504,000 recently, which is the second highest level in the last ten years.

Besides lay-offs, we have our own personal problems that we have to deal with: work-related problems, martial problems, family problems, financial problems, health problems, etc.

With everything going on, some people are having a difficult time coping and it’s not surprising.

ILL.- Lisa Nardelli hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks. Before Sept. 11, Nardelli used to doze peacefully through till morning. But these days, the 27-year-old Washington DC resident lies awake tossing and turning.

Once she does manage to drop off, she sleeps fitfully, often startled awake by nightmares. "I used to really enjoy my sleep," says Nardelli, a resident of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. "Now I only get about four hours a night. It takes a couple of extra cups of coffee each day to stay awake now."

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