Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Third Time Charm

Yesterday, my five classes read this entry I wrote on November 19, 2006 and the  high school students discussed on paper these two questions: Is the day of our death set in stone? Would you ride on a plane with Rod Watkins. There were some widely diverse opinions as we consider our mortality and the role of our God in the universe.

There was an eerie news article that came across the MSNBC website on Friday. Can you cheat death? Bob Cartwright could have been on the plane that Cory Lidle flew into a Manhattan apartment building last month, killing the New York Yankee and his flight instructor, Tyler Stranger. Cartwright had been invited to the baseball playoff game between the Yankees and Tigers by his friend and personal pilot, Stranger, but was not able to make the connections. Reportedly, Cartwright confided to those close to him that, "I was supposed to be on that plane." Ironically, on Tuesday, Cartwright boarded a small plane in California and perished when it went down in the vicinity of Big Bear Lake, along with several other men. Bob Cartwright dodged one death scene but his survival allowed him to simply suffer the same fate five weeks later. It almost doesn't seem fair, does it? If Cartwright had been a religious man, he must have thanked the Lord for sparing his life. The reprieve was short lived.

Paul was thought to have collided with the same type of fate in the book of Acts. On his way to Rome for trial, Paul and others were shipwrecked on the island of Malta. All passengers, including prisoners and soldiers, were able to get to shore safely. On the beach, while building a fire, a viper emerged from the flames and latched onto the apostle. The islanders, upon seeing this, declared that surely Paul was no saint in Acts 28, verse 4: "This man must be a murderer: for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." Of course, Paul was not harmed by the snake but that is typical of our thought process. Logic is overridden by belief in jinxes, omens, and fate. Hebrews 9:27 considers the outcome of our existence: "Just as man is destined to die once and after that, to face judgment.." Is the time for that destiny chiseled in stone somewhere? Perhaps more bizarre in the Cory Lidle/Bob Cartwright sequence is the addition of Rod Watkins, a friend of Cartwright from California, to the equation. Watkins also had been invited to New York to go with Cartwright/Lidle/Stranger but declined. On Tuesday, he was slated to board the plane with Cartwright on his final flight but backed out at the last minute. News reports characterized him as shaken. I asked my students how many would get on a plane with Rod Watkins in the near future: no takers. Let me ask you- is Rod Watkins more likely to perish in an air accident than the rest of us? From their responses, my sophomores believe he is. I think that is silly but I might be hesitant as well. You know the saying, ''The third time's the charm?" In 1 Timothy 4:7, the aforementioned Paul instructs his young friend, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales." Jesus said worrying could not lengthen our life. Neither would avoiding Rod Watkins in the Friendly Skies. But just to be on the safe side...........


Applicable quote of the day:
"Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him."
Groucho Marx


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

3 comments:

Thess said...

funny quote of the day...

Grineeda Hobob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grineeda Hobob said...

Bob Cartwright was known and remembered, not just for his kindness and generosity, but for his deep faith as well. The way you wrote this... if he "HAD BEEN" a religious man (emphasis mine), makes it sound like he wasn't.

I'd appreciate it if you would correct this. I knew the man most of my life (since 1964) and his daughter is my best friend.