Devotional: August 8th
Every now and then the odd but true catches my eye. You know, the kind of story that makes you go, "Hmmmm." The poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley was one who could not swim. In fact, most believed him to be afraid of the water. Yet, he mustered his courage one day and, acting on a whim that he would like to swim, he dove into a deep pool of water in which his friends were enjoying themselves. He nearly drowned before one of those friends pulled him to safety.
Reflecting on the event he wrote, "I always find the bottom of the well, and they say truth lies there. In another minute I should have found it, and you would have found an empty shell. Several months later Shelley was sailing in foul weather and slipped overboard. He drowned. Not long afterward his wife Harriet also drowned. A somewhat prophetic end to one whose fascination was never quite realized but whose dread was.
Consider the plight of British poet Thomas Chatterton. Once while walking through a cemetery late in the evening, he fell into a freshly dug grave. Chatterton, known for a sense of morbidity from time to time, confessed, "I have been at war with the grave for some time and find it not so easy to vanquish. We can find an asylum to hide from every creditor but that." Three days later Chatterton killed himself, thus ending a curious career in which his greatest works were passed off as those of another person.
Then there was Judas Iscariot. The betrayer of Christ was given a chance for redemption as he took the payment he received back to the very men who gave it to him in an effort to make things right. With the proof of sedition in his own hands he did not go to the masses and reveal the plot to kill Jesus. In shame, he chose to hang himself rather than make the effort to have Jesus released. Somewhat tragic. When God needed a gutless wonder he found one in Judas.
The apostle Paul understood not stepping into the inevitable. He wrote to young Timothy, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering as a pattern to those who are going to believe in Him for everlasting life." 1 Timothy 1:15, 16 In Christ we do not have to wallow in self despair to destruction but can succeed in Christ to eternal peace.
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