I recently read a story about a man named Harry Truman (not our 33rd President) which really got me to start thinking and praying about the paths I have chosen in life and where they are leading.
Mr. Truman was a cranky, colorful man who became a media celebrity in Washington state in the winter and spring of 1980. You see, Harry built and owned the Spirit Lake Lodge, which was located within spitting distance of beautiful Mt. St. Helens. When geologists discovered that the "mountain" was indeed a volcano that had been dormant for many years, people within a 100 mile radius began to make plans to leave the area. This was about survival. A volcanic explosion would result in certain death for anyone in its near path. As it became clear that the volcano would erupt in the spring of 1980, Harry Truman refused to move. Two months before the volcano blew, he was quoted by the The Daily News as saying, "If I left this place, it would worry me to death. If this place is gonna go, I want to go with it, 'cause if I lost it, it would kill me in a week anyway." Harry even told reporters that he had a secret cave where he would take refuge during an eruption. Later, his sister said there was no such cave, although in any case he wouldn't have had time to reach it. When rumblings of Mount St. Helens' first eruptions prompted evacuations of the Spirit Lake area, Truman stayed true to his ornery promise. He refused to leave. Then, at 8:32 am(PDT) on May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens completely erupted. The blast obliterated all traces of his beloved lodge and buried Truman and the site in ash. He was 84 when he died.
By all accounts, anyone with an ounce of sense would consider Mr. Truman to be the fool of all fools. How could he ignore the sure signs of the coming disaster? He knew what was coming, but he did nothing about avoiding the danger. I would never allow myself to be caught in a similar circumstance, leading to a sure consequences or even death. I am too wise for that. Really? Am I? When I consider some of the paths I have chosen, I find that I am just like cranky, obstinate Harry Truman. I have to ask myself if I am following the same path he followed when it comes to different areas of my life, such as my health and my finances? Am I headed toward disaster? I have always had good intentions, but intentions don't affect the end result. I have been convicted that I need to invoke the power of God to make the decision to be very intentional about how I live my life. The choices I make with my lifestyle today will determine the end result for me and my family. I don't want to be a Harry!
I have begun praying a simple prayer that I heard Andy Stanley pray on a recent podcast of one of his sermons, tiltled Destinations. It goes something like this:
Help me to see trouble coming long before it gets here.
Give me the wisdom to know what to do.
Give me the courage to do it.
The writer of Proverbs calls the man who sees danger and does something about it prudent or WISE. I want to be that man. I don't want to be the SIMPLE man like Harry Truman who keeps going on the same path, knowing that it will have a bad result. That man (and his family) will suffer for it.