Dante’s View and Our Choice
By BOB HAYNES, Benton County (Arkansas) Daily Record
In Death Valley, there is a place known as Dante’s View. From this location
you can look down into the lowest spot in the United States, a depression in
the earth 200 feet below sea level called Black Water. But from Dante’s View
you can also look up to the highest peak in the United States, Mt. Whitney,
rising to a height of 14,500 feet. In one direction you move to the lowest
spot in the United States, in the other, to the highest. From Dante’s View,
only the traveler can decide which direction to turn.
Today we are all standing once again at Dante’s View. We’ve seen the stock
market crash dive, we’ve seen our retirement savings nearly wiped out, we’ve
heard the story of thousands of people laid off from their work – and we’re
scared. We’ve reached Dante’s View and we now have a choice of which
direction to turn. From my point of view, we need to find a way to “look
Rick Warren said it far better than I could. Hear his words for today’s
pastors: “We’re less than four months into a troubling year. The stock
market is down. The housing market is down. Unemployment is up. Those
entering your church this Easter have seen their 401Ks take a nose dive over
the past year. Their homes aren’t worth as much as they were last year. Many
are out of work. They’re scared.” He then admonished pastors to realize that
this Easter, more than most years, they are ready to hear what the Easter
message has to say about their fears.
Warren then related some critical words of scripture: What were the first
words the angels said after Jesus rose from the dead: “Don’t be afraid!”
What were the first words Jesus said after he rose from the dead? “Don’t be
afraid!” What were the first words the disciples heard Jesus say when he met
them as a group? “Don’t be afraid!” That’s the message of Easter. And 2,000
years later it’s still relevant.”
Warren spoke about a study of fear that included in depth interviews with
500 different people. They discovered 7,000 different fears – an average of
14 different fears per person. We call fear by many names. We call it worry,
tension, anxiety and stress. Warren then said: “This is not some minor
issue; it’s absolutely critical. Why? It’s contagious. It’s limiting. It’s
draining. It’s the dark room where negativity develops.”
As Christians we need to make three decisions to overcome our fears. First,
we need to accept God’s totally unconditional love for us. Our deepest need
in life is to feel absolutely, totally, unconditionally loved. Second, we
must believe that Jesus died and rose for us in a most personal way. Our
third decision is to commit our fears and our life to Jesus. The only real
antidote to the fear that people are facing now is a commitment to Christ.
When they make him Lord of their life, they don’t have to fear losing
anything. He becomes the only person they ultimately have to please.
The first Easter changed the world. Nothing has ever been the same. Even
secular historians will admit that whatever happened on that first Easter
morning, the history of the world changed forever. Standing at Dante’s View?
Look up and embrace the Easter message. Shalom!
Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus knows me, this I love”