Emergencies and Tragedies
One story I have read and enjoy very much is a story is “told of a zoo that was noted for their great collection of different animals. One day the gorilla died, and to keep up the appearance of a full range of animals, the zookeeper hired a man to wear a gorilla suit and fill in for the dead animal. It was his first day on the job, and the man didn’t know how to act like a gorilla very well. As he tried to move convincingly, he got too close to the wall of the enclosure and tripped and fell into the lion exhibit. He began to scream, convinced his life was over…until the lion spoke to him: “Be quiet, or you’re going to get us both fired!”
There are many emergency situations that may arise in life. Storms, tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding will take their toll. Earthquakes, forest fires, and even volcanoes create much distress, problems, and each are potential life and death scenarios.
Depending on where you live a “natural disaster” may be more likely to unfold. Having safety plans and survival plans is advised. Today we also have the added possibility of a deranged, depressed, or demon filled attacker. Violent attacks ranging from guns and knives to cars and even blunt objects are all possible.
Those are real emergencies. Most of us will experience relatively few true “emergencies” in life. A majority of the time, what we are more likely to encounter are “tragedies.” We see this especially in the areas of relationships, priorities in life, and spiritual formation.
Unlike emergencies, that can unfold rapidly, tragedies are events that are slowly unfolding in life. For example: a teenager who leaves home saying he “hates God, the Bible, and church” is not an emergency – he is a tragedy. He did not wake up one day with the impression that he was against everything his parents stood for. It took time. An evil attitude was nurtured over time. Sinful thinking and warped thinking was not only tolerated, but allowed to grow over time.
Emergencies need a quick response, while tragedies (while still urgent) will take some time to unravel and correct. Please note that repentance and turning a life around all starts with one good decision, but it takes time to adjust a lifetime of sinful choices or bad habits.
Proverbs 3 teaches about wisdom. Wisdom is personified in this passage. Each person must decide to keep his or her eyes on wisdom. She will help you to not stumble, fall, or be in a place where great trouble will capture you.
Proverbs 3:21-26 instructs, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. 25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. 26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”
If we keep our eyes on wisdom, it makes it harder for us to “fall off a cliff.” Why? Because wisdom will not let you get near the cliff to begin with.
Falling off a cliff would be an emergency. Plunging down 65 feet off a rock face would be disastrous – but it is an emergency that is predicated by a tragedy. The tragedy in this case is a life of wrong thinking, unwise decisions, and a heart that is slowly walking away from wisdom and away from the Lord.
There are many tragedies unfolding in the lives of people all around us. Seemingly “insignificant” choices that are rooted in selfishness more than the Spirit of God, may seem innocent, but they do bring a person closer to the cliff.
- A child may think “It is just a drink or a smoke” but that brings them closer to an emergency of an overdose on some other drug.
- A man may think “it is just one magazine or website” but it is a slow path to addiction in his mind and isolation in relationships.
- A woman may think “it is just a few dollars more” for coffee, tea, or some other fancy and expensive pleasure, but it could lead to mismanagement of finances leaving a person’s savings account bankrupt.
By The Way: Poor choices are not just about plain sin. Sometimes the innocent pleasures that are prioritized above Bible principles can become sin to us. Wisdom assesses each scenario and helps you to avoid tripping and falling. The Apostle Paul suggested this in 1 Corinthians 6:12 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Just “Because I can” does not make it a good choice.
Please avoid making every decision based on emotion, drama, or selfishness. Be aware that the mundane, daily choices are the most significant of choices for direction (towards wisdom or away from wisdom) that will determine if you have an emergency or not.
No one intends to create personal emergencies in life. They develop as “tragedies” over the course of time. Tragedies are happening all around us. Be sure your life is not a tragedy. Remember Shakespeare? He wrote what literary students call “Tragedies.” Those writings include: “Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. Many people have been entertained by these “Tragedies” over the years. Purpose to not let your life be mere entertainment for Satan or the world. Your life should not be a “play thing” or amusement for evil people. Make the daily decision to apply God’s wisdom to your life today. Keep your eyes on God’s wisdom.