Fireside: Fateful or Fatal

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

Proverb 14:12

On December 7, 1941, the United States was violently dragged into the global arena for war. Japan’s Emperor had thought he would strike immobilizing fear to America by a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Instead, the Eagle took to the skies.

Without the victories in the air, World War II could have taken an entirely different turn. Some believe it could still be raging today. Many young men were trained in the new concept of ‘flying’. One of those men was George H. W. Bush.

On a bombing run on the Japanese radio outpost on Chichi Jima, then-Lieutenant Bush’s Grumman Avenger was shot down. The defenses on Chichi Jima were well entrenched, and the radio station was nestled between the volcanic hills. Many other pilots were shot down and  captured if they survived the crash landing. Lieutenant Bush successfully ejected out of his plane, and landed a few miles offshore.

Cold, injured, and shook up, pilots would instantly head for the nearest shore. Perils of the sky and perils on (and under) the waters were enough to make even captivity a welcome thought. But a warm welcome was not high on Japanese soldier’s priority list. They were frustrated at America’s superior air power, trapped on this gateway island, and abandoned to death by their emperor, having their supplies cut off as the war costs escalated. And every pilot who ditched on Chichi Jima became the target of all this pent up wrath. Most of the US pilots who arrived on the island were beheaded and then cannibalized.

George H.W. Bush was their latest prey.

Hours seemed like days of suspenseful waiting. The Japanese were prone to strafe the survivor’s bright-yellow rafts out of revenge. If he survived that, the long-boats from the island would come to take him as a prisoner of war and inevitably make an example out of him.

Lieutenant Bush faced a choice: go back to the presumed safety of land, or head out to sea, in hopes of surviving long enough to be rescued. He was growing weaker and colder by the minute, but he made a nation-shaping choice that day: brave the sea, and wait for help. It was not the comfortable choice nor was it the common choice. Several cold, doubt-filled hours passed. Would he survive his chosen fate?

Do you know how this story miraculously ends? I’m sure you’ve heard much about the man who became the 41st President of the United States. But he never would have made it there if he had chosen differently. His entire lifetime distilled into ONE decision that changed his (and our) future forever. ONE choice. ONE crossroad. ONE chance.

Often the right choice
goes against seemingly
better judgment.

The door of success hinges on the decisions of today. You have decisions to make that will determine your destiny. Decisions to study, to spend time with God, to pray for someone, to stay away from sin; these don’t seem monumental. In fact, they seem very small. Yes, they are just split-second, make-up-your-mind, call-it-like-you-see-it choices, but they will change you forever. The door of God’s blessing can be shut just as easily as it opened, and that is entirely up to you.

Nothing of consequence happens accidentally. What will you choose today? We have a chance to hear and respond to the Word of God each week- Will you choose to let Him change you? You have the opportunity to be an influence on some person this week- Will you choose to teach?  You may be able to sway someone away from Hell- will you choose to help?

Remember, there are dozens of George H.W. Bush’s out there, and they have an eternity of consequences to reap and just a short season of life to choose and sow.

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”

Joel 3:14

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