Can you imagine being by yourself, on foot, out of supplies, and 300 miles from help on Antartica? It is consider by many one of the top 10 endurance survival stories of all time. This is exactly what happened to Douglas Mawson, a 30 year old explorer from Australia in 1912-1913.
Mawson's colleague, Belgrave Ninnis had broken through an ice bridge, plunging into a deep cavern below with his sled, dogs and supplies the team needed. Mawson and Xavier Mertz, immediately turned for base, 300 miles into the Antartic tundra. By January 8, Mertz, exhausted, hypothermic, and starving, died in his sleep, leaving Mawson still more than 100 miles from base. At one point, Mawson himself fell through a thin ice bridge. However, he had tied himself to his sled which anchored himself from falling more than 14 feet. Hanging there, he contemplated giving up. His feet couldn't reach the ice walls. He was dangling in space. To climb hand over hand up the rope would be gruelling for any person in tip top shape, yet somehow Mawson dragged his disintegrating body up the rope. As he tried to pull himself onto the ice shelf, it broke, and he found himself again at the bottom of the rope, 14 feet from the top. Again he considered giving up, but determined that was too easy. One more time, hand over painful hand, he pulled his frail, exhausted, and starved body up the rope, this time managing to roll onto the ice above.
Finally, on February 8, almost two months since he had turned back, he caught sight of his base camp at Commonwealth Bay. His greatest fear though was realized as he saw the Aurora, the ship he had hoped to catch home, had left a mere five hours before!
Our text for today reminds us it's easy to give up. But if we can keep on keeping on, there is a reward for the successful. Endurance is focusing on a goal greater than the distractions we find along the way. Endurance however, isn't just about physical strength, it's also about spiritual strength. Paul told Timothy to endure his share of hardships and suffering (2 Timothy 2:3), and to endure affliction (2 Timothy 4:5). Peter admonishes us to enduring wrongful suffering (1 Peter 2:19). James tells us to endure temptations (James 1:12). Finally, Paul reminds us to endure all things (2 Timothy 2:10).
Physical endurance is based on hope. Mawson was able to push on because of hope. Spiritual endurance is also based on hope. Paul Titus to keep "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
Mawson survived his ordeal. A team of six men left at Commonwealth Bay helped him recover his strength and health over the next 10 months while they waited for the Aurora to return. In the meantime he sent a message to his fiance back in Australia that read: "Deeply regret delay, only just managed to reach hut." When Mawson returned to Australia, he recieved a hero's welcome and was knighted by King George V. When Jesus returns for us, He will get the hero's welcome, and we who endure, will get a crown and robe of life.
Don't give up. Don't ever give up faith or that blessed hope!
Read more about Douglas Mawson's ordeal and adventure from National Geographic HERE.
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28, NKJV).
As a kid, I was taught to "walk softly in the sanctuary." Granted, I grew up in a preacher's home. Nonetheless, my brother and I had to sit still and be quiet in church--whether we listened or not. And when I was young, I didn't listen to the preacher who was also my dad. I read my "Guide" magazine I had gotten in Sabbath School, or drew on paper, or something. But it was quiet. I remember that I wasn't allowed to run in the church, or play secular music on the piano in sanctuary, or go on the platform. It was to be considered a holy place. And last but not least, the pastor was addressed as, well, "Pastor."
How much different are things today. How often do I hear cell phones ring in church? As if something in the world is more important that our time with God. Yet those same people won't be bothered during family time. Children now play video games on mobile devices in the church--during church. They aren't taught to fold their hands or close their eyes in prayer. They don't make eye contact when you say "Hello." And forget a "Please" or a "Thank you." And sadly, there are more OMG's being said in and around the church than PTL's!
Am I being overly cynical or stereo-typical in my writing? Perhaps. But I can't help but wonder, is there anything sacred anymore? Today's text reminds us that since we are going to heaven, we should offer to God acceptable worship. And what is acceptable worship? The text tells us it is worship that is filled with reverence and awe. And what is reverence? It means to show a feeling or attitude of deep respect, admiration, and fear that is produced by something that is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful. In other words, turn off your cell phone and devices, and "Turn your eyes on Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth, will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace."
Note: This post is part of a continuing series of daily, one-minute devotions I post on the home page of my site. This particular post received a strong response, and so I have posted it in the blog in the hopes others might see and be blessed or encouraged as well.
In the middle of ever more demanding schedules at work, and less time at home, every day life seems to be tying us down more and more. But the second Sunday of May gives us the thoughtful opportunity to remember the moms in our lives. Sure we should take time more often than that to celebrate the greatness of our moms, but it seems that this is the day of special opportunity to tell her what she means to you. So for this Mother's Day, I'm writing about five of the most meaningful to me qualities I find in my own mom. In large measure, it was her influence, care, and teaching that led me to become the husband and father I am today. This entry is dedicated to my mom: Micki!
I've heard it said that good moms "listen and listen and listen." But true nurturing happens when a mom has listened to their child, and can then encourage the growth and development of the child in a positive and healthy way. Mom has always been a great listener. Even today, with her children (and grandchildren) she is always listening to the stories that made her kid's day. For somewhere in the story-telling expressions of her children, she finds joy. She takes pride in their triumph. She cries with them in their loss. She laughs with them at their jokes and antics. But why not? through her presence and input in their lives, she has created the environment for their pleasure and comfort. When she is present, they all feel safe.