Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Life on the Edge

   Life is fragile. We know that. Reminders of just how fragile are often helpful, though. We have all lived through one of the great evidences this past week as we set our many clocks ahead an hour in order to comply with Daylight saving time. First observed in the US during World War I in order to conserve electricity, I remember from my own youth how great that extra hour of sunlight was on the first night!
   Oh, to be young and naive again. I did not know the negative consequences of such a small adjustment to our internal clocks. A University of Alabama at Birmingham expert says the time change is not necessarily good for our health. “The Monday and Tuesday after moving the clocks ahead one hour in March is associated with a 10 percent increase in the risk of having a heart attack,” says UAB Associate Professor Martin Young, Ph.D., in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease (read more here). “The opposite is true when falling back in October. This risk decreases by about 10 percent.” While the Sunday morning of the time change doesn't require an abrupt schedule change, Young says, heart-attack risk does peak on Monday when most people rise earlier to go to work. “Exactly why this happens is not known, but there are several theories,” Young says. “Sleep deprivation, the body’s circadian clock and immune responses all can come into play when considering reasons that changing the time by an hour can be detrimental to someone’s health.”
   Our very lives are at stake with such a small change as the addition or removal of one hour of sleep. We are living on the edge. 
   The analogy of life out on the edge can be expanded beyond just medicine and our earthly bodies. I think it applies to our souls, too. Have you seen a person fly into a fit of rage over the smallest thing. Have you ever witnessed a person bend the rules past the breaking point in order to get ahead? Have you ever watched as someone manipulated every possible variable in order to try and control something that wanted to happen a certain way? Have you seen a person display hideous jealousy when they learned of the good fortune of a colleague? Have any of these instances described you? In each example, it can be the smallest thing that triggers an over-sized response.
Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7)
   While our mortal bodies are thrown off by removing one hour of sleep, our spiritual bodies and the essence of who we are stumbles even more frequently on the narrow path that leads to life eternal. Therefore, it is imperative that we journey in ways that seek to prevent our perishing or falling away. 
  • We must travel in groups: both the large group of worship and a small group like Sunday School, etc. 
  • We must read the directions closely: the Bible and classic devotional writings.
  • We must pray against the temptations and evils that lurk around ever bend.
  • We must stay in love with the God. Both the destination and the journey are intended to be experienced with joy!
Grace and Peace, Scott

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