Summary: We don’t have to blow things away if we don’t like them, or seek to escape from the realities of life if we can’t seem to do anything about them. There is a third alternative.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. When you were a child, did you ever daydream about being a superhero? Did you ever wish that you were like Superman or Wonderwoman, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or fly faster than a speeding bullet?
Why do children daydream? I think I know why. You see, when we’re young, we aren’t in charge. We’re children. We don’t make the rules. We can’t always do what we want to do. There is always somebody bigger & older & meaner. A child’s life is not all fun & games.
As children, we couldn’t do anything about some of our problems, so we daydreamed. And in our daydreams we were no longer helpless. We were heroes! We punished the wrong, rewarded the good, & made everything right from now on.
B. Don’t you wish you could do that today? I mean, as you look around at all that is wrong in society & the world, don’t you wish that somehow you could do something to make everything the way it really ought to be?
ILL. Do you remember Bernard Goetz? Four young men in a New York Subway car allegedly threatened him & tried to rob him. He was frightened & tired of being taken advantage of. He was sick of a society where subway riders were frequently terrorized & nothing much was being done about it.
So he took out his gun & shot them. Some people cheered, & he became a hero. His picture was imprinted on T-shirts, & they wrote songs about him. Why? Because there are many people who would love to be able to take a gun & blow away everything that is wrong around them. But of course, we would never think of doing anything like that, would we?
C. People do react in a variety of ways. Instead of trying to change the situation, some seek to escape from it. And there are a lot of ways to do that. Many turn to alcohol & other drugs to drown their problems, dull their senses, & blot out the world around them.
ILL. Others just can’t cope. Charles Dickens writes in the "Tale of Two Cities" about a doctor who was imprisoned for 20 years in a French prison. Unable to practice medicine in prison, he tried to keep his mind occupied by becoming a cobbler, & learning to repair shoes.
So for 20 years, in a small, dark prison cell, late at night he could be heard tap, tap, tapping away, repairing the shoes of his fellow prisoners.
Finally the French Revolution came & he was set free. But he couldn’t cope with his freedom, unused to the brightness of the sunlight, & the openness of the world around him. He no longer knew how to respond to all that.
Dickens writes that he went home & had his servant prepare a room for him in the attic that was exactly the same size as his prison cell. And every evening the servant would escort him to the room, lock him inside, & through the night could hear him tap, tap, tapping away. It’s a sad story.
D. Still others join cults, participate in seances, dabble in transcendental meditation, or try to develop supernatural powers - all this just to escape from the realities of life.
SUM. Folks, because of God’s Word, I’m convinced that we don’t have to blow things away if we don’t like them, or seek to escape from the realities of life if we can’t seem to do anything about them. Instead, there is a third alternative, we can deal with them with the help of our resurrected Lord!
ILL. Sir Douglas Bader was a pilot who lost both his legs in a plane crash before WW2. He was fitted with artificial legs & resumed flying. In 1939, when Germany & England went to war, he enlisted in the Royal Air Force.
Flying with two artificial legs, he shot down 22 enemy airplanes in the Battle of Britain. He became a national hero, & an example of how even a handicapped man could still be able to serve his country.
Then in 1941 his plane was shot down over France & he parachuted into enemy territory. In the process, both of his artificial legs were destroyed. Helpless, he was captured by a German patrol & made a prisoner of war.
Bader was so respected by his German captors that, amazingly, they contacted the British government to airdrop his two spare artificial legs so that he could have the use of his legs once again. And the British did.
The Germans soon realized that they had made a big mistake, for as soon as Bader received his legs, he started trying to escape. After 4 escape attempts his captors decided that there was only one thing to do. So every night when he went to bed, they took his artificial legs away from him & locked them up. That was the only way they knew to keep him from trying to escape.