The Airplane Or the Electric Chair?

  Lots of world problems need solutions. Men argue, debate and waste thousands of hours in parliaments and congresses looking for answers to difficult questions. What a waste of time. All they have to do is ask me!

Take the death penalty for instance. The ‘fors’ and ‘againsts’ heat up once the topic is broached. I found a better solution. You want to punish murderers? Make them ride transatlantic airplanes for the rest of their miserable lives.

In a week they’d be begging you to shoot them.

Give them each the maximum amount of luggage with two carry-ons. Delay their flights constantly. Make them pay airport prices for soft drinks. Let them be searched, x-rayed all the way to their belly button. Make them take off their shoes and belt then hold up their pants while trying to put two laptops in three different trays to go through the machine that looks for suspicious stuff.

And my favorite: put that lady who always sits in the seat in front of me on long flights in front of them.  Now you’ve got to understand. Airlines have reduced the average space in cattle-car class to the amount of living space required by a midget sardine. So, you’re gliding along at 35,000 feet with your knees under your chin when that lady decides it’s time for a six-hour nap.

So, she leans her seat way back onto my knees and drifts off into lala land. My legs weren’t made for airplanes since I’m over six feet tall and when she does that I get claustrophobic and want to yell at the top of my lungs and pummel the seat back with my imprisoned knees.

I don’t know how but she seems to be on every transatlantic flight that I’m on. It’s either her or one of her cousins.

Recently this lady was on my knees for so long that I wanted to say to her, “Lady, we’ve got to stop meeting like this. My wife is getting suspicious.” (My wife was scrunched up next to me, in case you’re wondering).

So, if we were punishing murderers on these flights and she was lying on their laps maybe she’d quit leaning on me. They’d probably do her bodily harm, though.

“If it’s so miserable,” you ask, “why do you subject yourself to the torture of airplane travel?” Well, there’s a reason. Some of my kids and grandkids live a plane flight away and I’m willing to endure that lady on my lap in order to see them.

And some of the things that I believe God wants me to do sometimes requires flying to different places. And I’d sure endure Sally Snoozer in order to accomplish His purposes in my life.

Accomplishing your goals in life often involves doing unpleasant things. We’ve gotten the pursuit of happiness and the avoidance of difficulty down to an art form haven’t we?

We consider happiness an inalienable right. But could God tell us to do something that might make us miserable in the short run? How dare He!

How dare He? He’s the Boss, not me. My job is to obey.

Look at those people praying in Acts chapter four. The big guys have threatened their comfort and happiness if they keep on preaching about the salvation that’s in Jesus. And what do they ask God when they pray? “Lord, stretch out your hand and heal people in the Name of your Son Jesus!”

Don’t they know that is what landed them in this mess to begin with? And they’re asking God to turn up the heat? Yep, because for them, obeying the Lord and living their life to complete the mission that God gave them was more important than their comfort, happiness, security– even their life!

God’s Kingdom is more important than our happiness, and to be painfully honest, getting where we need to go sometimes requires us to do things that make us uncomfortable, to make choices that are tough in the short-run. Paul once compared his situation to being “poured out as a drink offering.” That can be disagreeable if all we’re looking for is to be comfortable and contented in life.

But, if our greatest happiness awaits the Day when we stand before Him and hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” we do what we have to do to get the job done—even if it hurts.

I’ve been thinking. You know that idea about making condemned men ride transatlantic jets? Just forget it. I’m pretty sure that the Supreme would declare it cruel and unusual punishment.

Hummm …
“Another common misconception: You need to learn from your mistakes. What do you really learn from mistakes? You might learn what not to do again, but how valuable is that? You still don’t know what you should do next. Contrast that with learning from your successes. Success gives you real ammunition. When something succeeds, you know what worked—and you can do it again. And the next time, you’ll probably do it even better.” David Heinemeier Hansson, Jason Fried Rework (New York: Crown Business, 2010)

Smile—
“Heaven goes by favour. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. “ Mark Twain
“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.”
~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

About David Porter

When he was in college, David Porter wanted to be a journalist. Today he is a preacher. In Coffee Stains, the preacher and journalist meet to bless everyone who likes a funny East Texas story with a spiritual kicker at the end!
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