One winter day while a Chilean peasant was tending his cattle along a long, deep gorge in a remote area of the Andes, he saw two gaunt, bearded figures across the chasm. Thinking they were terrorists, he ran and hid. The next day he returned and saw they were still there. He quickly gathered a pencil, some paper, and a stone, wrapped them in a handkerchief, and heaved them across to the strangers.
When the package came back, thirteen hand-scribbled words said it all: “We came from a plane that fell in the mountains. We are Uruguayan.”
Out of forty-five members of an amateur rugby team, sixteen had survived an indescribable ten-week ordeal. They did so because they were willing to do the unthinkable. They committed cannibalism, eating from the dead bodies of their companions. Critics came out of the woodwork, especially from their church. But the fact is, because they were willing to take such drastic measures, sixteen survived.
If you and I hope to survive this transition into the twenty-first century, it will require some drastic measures on our part, too. It will require a willingness to change.
To describe our times as intense is to state the obvious. And to complicate matters, the intensity is on the increase. We thought times were wicked when we were growing up, but compared to today, the situation forty or fifty years ago seems idyllic.
While struggling with all that recently, I found encouragement from a statement in Paul’s final letter: “Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness'” (2 Tim. 2:19).
Isn’t that great! The foundations God has laid won’t be destroyed. No matter how bad it gets, no matter how intense the wickedness, God’s standard is not subject to change.
So, then, where do all these drastic changes take place? Within you and me, of course! Remember, that last part of 2 Timothy 2:19 is a command. It calls for obedience. He is telling us to make whatever changes are necessary so that we might “abstain from wickedness.” Yes, abstain.
Surviving times as intense as ours will not occur easily or automatically. Furthermore, it is not something we do corporately or, for that matter, publicly. It’s an “inside job,” and it calls for increased discipline in the private realms of our lives. It’s a survival secret being overlooked by many.
Whatever changes you need to make, start today. Survival requires change. Sometimes, drastic change.
Drastic times call for drastic measures.