Wednesday, August 25, 2010


What if I'm right?

In an instant, the levy broke. It wasn't a slight breach. It was a wide, gaping break that emptied an entire lake in a matter of hours. Within minutes, a wall of water forced its way over and through trees, homes, streets, and towns. The water was so powerful, trees snapped and houses crumbled and disappeared. Dozens of people were swept away in an instant.

Dozens. Not hundreds. Not thousands. Dozens. The dozens swept away were the ones who refused to believe the warnings and heed the voluntary and eventual mandatory, evacuations. The Corps of Engineers had warned the public of the likelihood of a pending breach or even complete failure of the levy. Warnings and precautions had been public for three months. Officials went door to door insisting that residents evacuate.

Many heeded the warnings and evacuated. Some who evacuated early decided the authorities were wrong and snuck back into their homes after a month or two. Others grew impatient and held rallies in their towns to protest the evacuations, angrily shouting insults at the public officials and engineers who kept them from returning to their homes.

Then the levy broke.

Just as the engineers predicted, the water runoff from the rain miles away from the lake eventually made its way to the lake and increased the already tremendous pressure on the weakening levy, and it broke open with the same force as if detonated by a bomb.

Dozens died instantly. The anger of those who once protested the intrusion of the evacuation turned to tears of sorrow, disbelief, humility, and gratitude. Those who had been the objects of constant verbal assaults comforted and cried today with those who had cursed them yesterday.

Once the initial force of the water passed and left the area flooded, rescue teams manned dozens of boats and several helicopters to search for those who might have survived. The helicopter pilots guided the rescue boats to people in trees, on rooftops, and hilltops. The "eye in the sky" (via radio communication) also warned of unsafe areas so that the rescue boats would not get swept away in dangerous currents or their motors entangled in power lines. The results of the search were not as positive as everyone had hoped. Less than twenty people were rescued.

One rescue boat came upon a man in a boat tied to a tree. When the waters initially swept the man from his front porch, he managed to grab onto a tree limb and hold on. Within an hour, an empty boat came floating toward him. He swam to it and climbed inside. He drove the boat around for a while, but could not tell where he was. Afraid of running out of gas or getting completely lost, he tied the boat to a tree and waited for help.

The rescuers pulled their smaller boat next to his and instructed him to get into their boat, but he refused. "This boat saved my life and I'm gonna keep it," he insisted. The rescuers tossed the man a rope and told him to tie it to his boat so that they wouldn't get separated. He tossed the rope back to them, shook his head, and motioned for them to go on. He would follow.

He followed. For a little while. Apparently, the man eventually recognized where he was. Once he got his bearings, he sped up, passed the slower rescue boat, and took off. The rescuers shouted and tried to wave at him to stop, but he kept going. They tried to catch him, but he was quickly gone. A rescue helicopter followed above him for a few minutes, but lost him in the trees.

Two hours later, the helicopter pilot spotted the man's boat. The hull was severely compromised. Water filled the boat. The man was nowhere in sight. His body was found a week later.

As sad as this story is, it reaches infinitely greater depths of sadness when you realize it is a modern-day parable of those who refuse to heed the teachings of Scripture; and instead, believe the popular modern-day myth that there are many paths to heaven.

I believe the Bible is the true Word of God with the same depth of conviction that you believe oxygen is vital to the survival of your body. I believe what Jesus said when He said, "I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. NO ONE comes to the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). Jesus, in His own words, excludes Himself from the argument that there are many ways to heaven.

I believe Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in ANY other, for there is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among MEN by which we MUST be saved."

I believe what the Bible reveals. And the Bible doesn't argue about it. It states it as fact. Jesus said He's coming back and this world will one day end. I believe Him. The signs provided in the Bible to help us know when the end time is drawing near have never been more contemporary than they are now. The end could be closer than any of us realize. The levy is swelling.

Jesus said there is a heaven and there is a place of eternal torment called "Hell" and I believe Him. I also believe HIS description of hell over your favorite joke or country song about hell. There will be no partying. There will be no friends. There will be no escape.

Back to my first question: What if I'm right?

What if Jesus IS the only way? What if God gave us ONE way and the devil manufactured twenty alternatives to deceive those who preferred a different way than God's way? What if the Bible is 100% accurate?

What if I'm right?

I know what you're thinking at this point: What if the narrow-minded, holier than thou preacher is dead WRONG? Good question. What if I'm wrong? That would mean you are right.

What if YOU'RE right and there are many ways to God and/or heaven? Then I've lost nothing and gained everything. In that case, I am ON one of the so-called "many ways" to heaven. Why do I feel like I've gained everything? I have lived as both a non-Christian and a Christian, and I'll take the Christian life of joy, peace, grace, forgiveness, and love over the life of emptiness, ambiguity, uncertainty, emotional-roller-coaster-living ANY DAY...even if I'm wrong. But I know I'm not. How do I know? Faith. Faith confirmed daily. I know because I know Him experientially.

What if I'M right and you're wrong? You lose everything and gain an eternity in hell. Your shouts of anger and defamatory name-calling toward those of us who are trying to help you find the truth in Jesus place you in the parable as those who foolishly rally against and curse the ones who have saved your life before you realize it. If I'm right, then your perception of my intentions toward you are wrong. If I'm right, you might also be the man in the boat who felt he had a superior boat and knew a better way to safety only to find out that the other ways lead to disaster. If I'm right, I'm in contact with the "Eye in the Sky" who is trying to lead you in the right way.

Shouldn't that be a sobering enough thought to send you into an honest inquiry of the truth about Jesus? Not a quick googling of websites that agree with your presuppositions and prop up your opinions. I'm asking you to take an honest heart journey. I'm challenging you to drop your argumentative anger and face the issues of your soul without bias.

If I'm right, or even have a ten percent chance of being right in your mind, then what would it be worth to you to find out? And if YOU are so right, why not take my challenge, read the Bible, attend an evangelical church faithfully for a few months, and listen. Really listen. Not just to what the preacher says. Listen to what you hear inside your heart.

One more sobering question for you to think about today: If there were many ways to God and/or heaven, why would Jesus claim otherwise, and then believe it enough to die for it, knowing that man could reach God through lesser means? In other words, there's no wiggle room. You have to decide whether Jesus was/is the Son of God or whether He was a misinformed, delusional liar.

I'm just a man in a boat who is in contact with an eye in the sky who knows the way. And I'm begging you...

...please take the rope.

Perry Crisp