CARRYING DEATH AROUND… AND NOT KNOWING IT… ARE YOU ALSO DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT?
On 6th September 1971, the newspapers in the Netherlands screamed, "El Al [Airlines] plane nearly blown up. Dutch girl got bomb from a friend' 'Dutch unsuspecting accomplice' 'Bomber-girl seduced by love and hashish.’
The unsuspecting accomplice bomber-girl was a 19-year-old Dutch woman called Catharina Windemeijer (pen-name or pseudonym for Jayanti van der Meer, who was born as Jetty van der Meer). Catharina left home to backpack around Europe, and went to Serbia’s capital, Belgrade. What drew her to Belgrade? She told her mom she would be visiting friends there… She was a hippie, the popular lifestyle of the time, attracted to living a life of sex, drugs, and seeking after freedom. (“Hippies often dressed unconventionally, lived communally, and used psychedelic drugs.” From Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.)
Whilst still in Belgrade, she met a Lebanese young man (who she calls George in an interview). George was asked for the popular Lebanese hashish, which he said he had, and that’s how he joined their group.
George then asked Catharina to take some things to his home in Bethlehem, in Israel, all because he wanted to go to the United States of America. He asked her to bring to his family a letter and presents! It doesn’t make much sense, does it? But how did she accept to go on such a bizarre errand? She openly says she was constantly stoned (under the influence of drugs), and she didn’t think any further that this was a strange proposition.
So George went ahead and bought the plane tickets! Then they went together to Rome from where she was to fly out to Tel Aviv, Israel. At the last moment, George asked her to also take with her to his home a big suitcase that he had been carrying around. She obliged, and packed her clothes there, then the presents they had bought together for his family.
They then said goodbye, although George talked rather less than normal over the coffee they had shortly before her departure. She assured him that all would be fine and that they would meet again in three days, as she was supposed to come back in three days. she'd be coming back in three days? Why couldn’t he go to his home and deliver the items himself, then?
On the plane to Tel Aviv, Catharina met a Jewish young man who was her seatmate on the plane. He found Catharina’s story strange – letter, presents, and all – and gave her his phone number to call him in case something went wrong.
In Bethlehem, she searched for the address George had given her, and it turned out that such an address never existed! She felt terrible with no money to get back! Now her mind started to work! She went to the Police, who, after a futile search for the address and asking around about George’s non-existent family, put her up in a hotel for the night. She was restless and terrified that night, hearing shooting and sounds of war all around! Then a thought struck her that the suitcase seemed to have a false bottom! Catharina thinks that it was her guardian angel who revealed that one!
She called the Jewish man she had met on the plane, and when they met, she told him of her suspicion, then they cut open the false bottom with a knife he had. Lo and behold, there was a high pressure bomb hidden there, all ready to explode! They informed the Police, who analysed that such bombs would detonate with a change of pressure, in this case, if there had been a lowering of the pressure in the luggage area of the plane! But the El Al Airlines plane she took had the same pressure in the passenger and luggage areas, so the bomb couldn’t have gone off!
When she finally got back home in the Netherlands, she realised that she didn’t know much about the world… that she was so ignorant… she had just been blandly living one day to the next! She realised that she needed to make extreme changes for a positive turnaround! So she took the bold step to change – no more drugs, pursue a career, be wiser about the world, and trust no one. She never saw nor heard of that George she met in Belgrade again! She is better at trusting people!
Friends, there is plenty to learn from this episode. The devil helps us carry our own doom: in what we see, do, hear, eat, drink, read… the list is endless!! Many never question why they keep on doing what they do, why they keep to the level of existent and beliefs that they stick to! No wonder many fall for Satan’s double raw deal: a suitcase with a false bottom of transient pleasures… and we carry it ourselves… at our own expense! And in the unfortunate event that the bomb explodes, it affects many of those around us because we don’t sin in a vacuum!
It ever seems strange that many flock after the devil’s ways: a being they have never known or seen, and yet they spite the much better alternatives found in a God-led life! If the argument is that, “I have never seen God either,” then the most reasonable option to follow in making a decision is to follow the unseen Leader with a better end! That just makes sense! And only God makes such sense!
If that is not convincing enough, history tells us of another Jewish Man, born in Bethlehem, who was ‘forced’ by love to disregard Eternity in order that HE shows us a better way to live – a way that HE had intended when HE created all that there is! Jesus did all HE could to highlight how myopic our vision was… how we could not see through the many false bottoms in the suitcases that we were carrying… HE unravelled the futility of a merry-go-round and meaningless life without HIS magic divine formula of obedience in love!
Those of us who have deliberately taken a dose of this divine prescription can confidently declare and testify that Jesus stills the cacophony and noise of men’s restless plodding through life, and that HE gives peace and purpose today and the hope for an even better life hereafter! You don’t get a double raw deal with HIM, it is a winner that you get today, which assures of the win awaiting in the future! There are no hidden costs and no luggage to carry around as a condition attached to the free ticket to eternal life that God gives!
The Bible has great life examples of those that made the right choice when they encountered Christ. We can learn from them a great deal:
MOSES: At the prime of life, Moses rebuffed the opulence of Egyptian royalty, and saw through the false bottom of the “pleasures of sin” that are “for a season” (Hebrews 11:25). The verse blatantly accepts that sin has “pleasures”, but, in the final analysis, they are sinful pleasures, and nothing good has ever arisen from sin! As mortal men, we are being reminded that we are limited in our vision if left to ourselves! Moses is immortalised as the epitome of meekness and spiritual leadership today, whilst, for the few Egyptian pharaohs we know of, it is their wealth and tombs that we know of, and nothing else of note! What a difference!
SOLOMON: The wise King Solomon says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 14:12, and Solomon repeats himself, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25. If there are two ways to choose from – God and Satan – Solomon is telling us that choosing on our own, which has a high propensity to be wrong if done without God’s leading, leads to ways of death. Then the verse also clearly says that the way that has Satan at the head leads to “ways of death”! Note plurality here: one way leads to many ways of death! There are numerous ways that Satan leads lost lives to end in utter ruin and destruction – lustful indulgencies, addictions, and a deliberate disregard to the wooing of the Almighty to live right! There is always the better alternative to choose that is found in God’s way! This is coming from a king who had the wisdom to advise aright. The immense wealth and fame he had did not spoil his perceptions! We can learn from that. And remember that Solomon reminds us not once, but twice in one book!
If this DOUBLE REMINDER from King Solomon is not enough, there is TRIPLE REMINDER that strikes the point home even louder:
JOB says: “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28.
DAVID then reiterates: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments...” Psalm 111:10
SOLOMON then comes in again to concur, probably taking the cue from his father, David: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. Solomon goes further to disclose the foolishness and dire consequences of not heeding this divine call: Proverb 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 2:5 “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 10:27 “The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”
PAUL: Paul tells us that the greatest loss to man is the missed entry to the eternal interests that Jesus offers! “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. Satan’s many alternatives come with a useless baggage of avoidable disease, emotional disequilibrium, and lost resources – money, time… you can name it! and then all these lead to one thing – death! And it’s eternal death for those who shall have no hope in living eternally!
If Catharina saw that she was running a fruitless race in what I could loosely call her ‘basic’ lifestyle, why can’t we see the higher spiritual stakes that surround our lives? These are issues that need our utmost attention to make a positive turnaround too! Without such a bold step to change, like Catharina, one wrong decision will lead another: each probably greater than the last!
Let me invite you to come and unburden your heavy load at the Cross of Christ and let HIM lead the way? Matthew 11:28 “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” You will never go astray again! John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life….”
Are you too busy for God that you don’t really care to make a decision in HIS favour? Think again about the dreary and bleak option you are choosing to following by not doing anything about God! You can find time for God! After all, HE created time in the first place and if you are willing, HE can help you make time for HIM! With HIM at the helm, you will be assured you are heading right into Eternity where you are meant to be according to Christ’s promise of restoration in John 14:2,3 “…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
It’s all in your favour! Choose life! Choose Christ! God bless you!