Keeping your head above water

Tips for Life

by Alan Bailey

Having made several flights to overseas destinations over the past few weeks, I have been powerfully confronted with one of humanity’s basic instincts: survival. As soon as you board an aircraft the crew are letting you know how to survive if the plane comes to grief. They even tell you that you could find yourself up to your neck in sea water. Yes, you may be reduced from sitting comfortably in a multi-million dollar plane to bobbing about on the ocean waves. But you will have a whistle with you to attract attention! How comforting!

The story of our lives

We want to stay alive. In my travels I saw the struggle of the poor, with the beggar looking for a few coins or the peasant tilling his ground. Then the urban crowds, commuting, hurrying, buying, and selling. Each day is filled with striving, providing, eating, drinking and so the cycle goes on. But always the bottom line is survival.

Even the prosperous are in survival mode. They protect their investments, guard their homes and consult doctors about their health.


It’s not hard to understand why life is like this. All living things seem bent on perpetuating their existence. There are few exceptions. But while we should be alert and aware in this world, it is a sad thing if our lives are dominated by self-preservation. Is the meaning of life simply to exist? Why are we so concerned about living if we have no purpose for living? Is experiencing pleasure a purpose or just something that fills in the time?

There is much more

I see people day by day who never seem to think beyond the task of keeping life ticking along satisfactorily. It is as though survival has blinded their eyes to what our existence is all about—or even any enquiry as to what it’s all about.

Are we to come to the end of our days only to look back on a life that had no ultimate significance? Thankfully, God has revealed Himself and has let us know that we are His creatures. He has a purpose and a plan and we can be part of that plan. The goals He has in mind are noble — glorious beyond our imaginings. He sent His Son Jesus to this world, and to the cross, in order to bring amazing things to pass affecting us for eternity.

To be saved by the Son of God, who rose from the dead, means to have a life now which is abundantly worth living. Knowing God’s forgiveness and His peace is worth more than the whole world. Being confident about where you are going after death is a source of joy and a great incentive to truly live rather than simply survive.

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