Up and Under

In 1979 the tugboat Cahaba was headed down the Tombingbee River in Alabama, USA. The current was flowing fast as the tug’s pilot approached the bridge and released his coal barges. He then put his 1800 horsepower twin engines into reverse to get away, but when the boat moved slightly off line the current swung the boat sideways and slammed it into the bridge. The current was so strong that it forced the boat down under the water. To the astonishment of onlookers it passed under the bridge and popped up, upright, with the engines still going and the pilot at the wheel, on the other side. Why did it come back to the surface in an upright position? Because it was ballasted with a metre thick lining of cement on the bottom of the hull. It is a vivid reminder that life can often go horribly wrong, but if we have the right “ballast” – faith in Christ – then we can get through it and emerge upright on the other side. By the way, you can view photos of the amazing tug incident on at www.gcfl.net/stuff/tugboat/.
Source: information found at www.gcfl.net/stuff/tugboat/.

Teaching Eaglets to Fly

One of the most inspiring sights in nature is the eagle in flight. With an endless expanse of blue behind it the eagle spreads its mighty wings and soars majestically and gracefully across the sky. Free, powerful, complete. Because of this the eagle becomes a symbol for how we’d like to be. We all want to soar like an eagle in life.

But I wonder if you know how it is an eagle learns to soar? I am told that there is a particular species of eagle which builds its nest high up on the face of a cliff overlooking the sea. In this nest the eagle chick is hatched and spends its first days watching its mother come and go, collecting food and bringing it back.

One day mum decides it’s time her chicks learned to fly. You know how she does it? She forces her way right into the nest and then pushes her chicks out. The chick starts plummeting down the cliff-face, terrified, shocked, heartbeat racing, aware that death is just seconds away. And then something amazing happens. The chick instinctively stretches the wings it never knew it had, the plummet becomes a fall, then a gentle rise. Soon the chick is soaring like its mother.

It’s in that split second of terrifying danger that the chick comes face to face with itself, and face to face with wider reality. In that terrifying moments the chick discovers what it is. And without that terrifying moment it will never learn to soar.

Source: Scott Higgins

Maggot Therapy

One of the things most of us find stomach churning and revolting is the maggot. Finding them in your garbage bin is enough to make you puke, but imagine finding them on your body! In 1982 an orthopaedic surgeon by the name of John Church was asked to treat someone who had been in a car accident and lain unconscious for three days in a ditch at the side of the road. The victim had deep cuts to his face and body, and those wounds were crawling with massive infestations of maggots.

But here’s the amazing thing. When John Church peeled away those maggots to examine his patient he was astonished to discover that the wounds were so clean they had already begun to heal! In fact, this discovery led to a revival of the practise of maggot therapy.

You see as revolting as they may be, maggots can be agents of healing. Put them on a wound and they’ll eat up the diseased flesh but leave the healthy flesh alone. The bacteria they don’t eat they kill with a chemical they excrete. And to top it off when they crawl all over your wound they provide the healthy flesh with a gentle and therapeutic massage.

In fact, doctors have discovered that in many cases maggots are more effective than antibiotics!

Sometimes the circumstances in our life function like maggots. They may be very unpleasant, but they can also be healing. We speak of them as “character forming”. They cause us to identify what’s important in life, to develop endurance and perseverance, to depend more on God and others. And in doing so they eating away the rotting parts of our character and leaving behind healthy parts.

Source: Scientific information from Karl Kruszelnicki’s New Moments in Science #3.

Codfish and Catfish

A number of years back the codfish industry on the northeast coast of the US had a problem. The fresher the fish the better. So how could they keep the codfish fresh while they transported them across the country? When they froze the fish they lost too much flavour. When they transported them live in tanks filled with saltwater the fish got soft and mushy.

Finally they found a solution. They placed catfish in the tanks. Catfish are a natural enemy of codfish, so the catfish would chase them around the tanks all the time they were being transported. The cod now arrived in better condition than ever.

Relating this story, Chuck Swindoll points out that we all need catfish in our lives – the difficult people or situations in life that may not be pleasant but keep us healthy and growing.