Six Days AWOL

February 15, 2017
Volume 22, Number 7

The story of Danny Filippidis, age 49, is intriguing. The 49-year-old firefighter from Toronto was skiing with friends on Whiteface Mountain in New York last week – and then couldn’t be found. A massive search was launched, utilizing hundreds of volunteers looking in hazardous terrain. About 7,000 man-hours went into the search.

On Tuesday of this week, six days later, Danny was found. He called his wife from Sacramento, California, almost 3,000 miles away. He was still dressed in his ski clothes; his car and other belongings were still in New York. He doesn’t remember how he got to California, though he vaguely recalls riding in a big rig-type truck.

According to reports, Danny has no history of drug abuse or mental illness. What actually happened to him remains a mystery; the best guess is that he suffered a head injury while skiing. Whatever be the cause, six days of his life have gone AWOL.

We commonly see reports of people who suffer temporary amnesia due to substance abuse. An article in Scientific American on April 19, 2017 noted this developing trend among illicit opioid abusers. In some cases, the article noted, the memory loss persisted after more than a year. This is surely not something the user signed up for!

The problem reminds me of what the Bible teaches about sin. Isaiah 64:6 is one such statement: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Notice what Isaiah said: When sin takes over we become like faded leaves, the kind that fall from trees in autumn. Sin then grows in intensity, “like the wind”, and takes us away. We are powerless to resist, just as dried leaves have no say in where the wind will carry them. Making it all the more tragic is that we invited this sin into our life.

Someone once said this about sin: “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.” That seems to agree with Isaiah’s observation about sin.

If sin is so dangerous, why don’t people just stay away from it? I don’t believe I’ll ever have a problem with snakes and spiders, for I have a natural fear of them. I expect I will always keep my distance. Why doesn’t it work the same way with sin?

Hebrews 11:25 notes the faith of Moses which enabled him to walk away from a life of royal leisure in Egypt: “choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” That’s why people are attracted to sin – it often comes packaged inside of pleasure. May we not forget that such pleasure is passing. The consequences of the sin inside the package may not pass.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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