On the upper Niagara River, on the border between Canada and the United States, signs mark a "point of no return". Going beyond that point means most likely going over Niagara Falls.
In July of 1960, James Honeycutt took 7-year-old Roger Woodward and his sister, Deanne, for a boat ride on the upper Niagara River. According to one account, he had gone past the point of no return. He tried to turn his 14-foot aluminum motorboat around, but a shear-pin failure disabled the motor, leaving the boat and those in it at the mercy of the current.
The boat quickly flipped over, and its three former passengers were headed for the falls. Luckily Deanne floated close enough to Goat Island that some tourists were able to pull her to safety. Her brother Roger and James Honeycutt were not so fortunate and were swept over Horseshoe Falls, over which 3,000 tons of water crash every second. Miraculously, Roger survived. Sadly, James Honeycutt was battered and drowned.
Can we learn something from this event that happened 50 years ago? Perhaps, like me, you felt relieved that Roger survived his trip over Horseshoe Falls. But what about James Honeycutt? Did he ignore the warning signs?*
Mr. Rickard is correct in his contention. People can and do get caught up in the flow of the world, and then they often find themselves drifting further and further away from God. Sadly, they can soon find themselves dangerously off course - so much so that the consequences can be severe.
Often, this begins with the most innocent of actions. People wade out into the stream of life. They are tempted to go in a given direction. So, they wade in just a little farther. Then, almost before they realize what has happened, they are in too deep. They are caught up in the flow and swept farther away from God.
Perhaps no better example exists in the Word of God than that of Lot. Though he was none other than the nephew of Abraham, whom the Bible calls the friend of God, Lot forsook all he had and launched out into the stream of worldliness. He “pitched his tent” toward Sodom. Next, he moved inside the city of Sodom, where he sat in the gates. In short, he became the mayor! Sadly, though, Sodom also moved into him; and it took up residence in the gates of his heart!
Before it was all over with, he had lost all he had, including his own wife. His degradation left its pathetic stamp on his children, and on their heirs; and he himself passed off the scene in utter humiliation and disgrace. What a sad story: from a place of prominence in the great redemption story to a place of ignominy in history. And all because he waded into the stream of worldliness, only to find himself in way too far, and unable to overcome the current which held him captive.
Mr. Rickard goes on to point out the fourth chapter of Amos, where God reprimanded Israel for not having returned to Him while she had time and opportunity. The whole point of Amos’ prophecy is that God’s people should have returned to Him. In point of fact, they never should have left Him. But having done so, they should at least have returned to Him right away, long before they crossed the fateful point of no return.
God’s message to Israel through His prophet Amos is also God’s message for America today. As a nation and as a people, we are drifting further and further away from Him each day. Now is the time for us to return to Him. Now is the time before we go any farther, and before we get any closer to the point of no return.
Sadly, ancient Israel did not do this. There came a day when she paid the price for rejecting God. She went too far; and in so doing, she crossed the precipice into oblivion.
But it is important to remember that our country will be no stronger then we are as individuals. As goes me, so goes my family, my community, my state, and my country. Thus, I must ask myself this day, "Am I caught in any worldly currents? Am I being pulled away from God? If so, am I ignoring the warning signs?" If so, may I return to Him right away! And may I do it before I too drift dangerously beyond the point of no return!