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A Radical Remedy

A man said to his doctor, "Doctor, my arm got broken in two places." The doctor advised, "Don't go back to either of them!" There are some places we ought not to get caught in. Just ask Alan Ralston. On April 26", Ralston became trapped when an 800 pound boulder rolled onto his right arm as he was rockclimbing in Canyonlands National Park in Colorado. Ralston finally escaped from the death trap he found himself in, but the remedy for his radical problem is almost beyond belief. On the fifth day after being trapped, he purposely broke the bones of the trapped arm below the elbow, applied a tourniquet and then amputated his lower arm with a dull pocketknife in a crude and excruciating one hour operation. Amazingly, he then walked six miles before finally encountering hikers who called in professional help. Later, Ralston calmly described his desperate attempts to free himself from the boulder and how he eventually decided he must sacrifice his arm to save his life after going through most of his food and water. While far from painless, the radical remedy he applied to his radical problem saved his life.

Mark 5:21-24, 35-43 tells the story of another man who found himself in a difficult spot facing a radical problem. Jairus was a synagogue ruler who fell at Jesus' feet and begged Him earnestly, saying "My little daughter lies at the point of death" (5:22-23a). Later we read that some from Jairus' house came to him and said, "Your daughter is dead." (5:35). What remedy can you apply when death draws near- your own or someone's you love? And what remedy is available when your radical problem is not a physical death but an emotional one? Maybe what is at the point of dying is a marriage, or a friendship, or a job, or a career, or a long-held dream. Betrayal, anger hurt, disappointment and discouragement are boulders that can crush us and cause us, emotionally and mentally at least, to lie at the point of death. What do we do when life's heaviest boulders crash down on us and pin us beneath a weight too heavy for human hands to move? Alan Ralston reminds us radical problems call for radical remedies. And Jarius, a synagogue ruler, lying helplessly at the feet of Jesus, begging for help for his dying daughter, reminds us that sometimes the most radical thing and the only thing we can do is place our trust in God. Ralston's radical remedy saved his life. Jairus' radical remedy saved his daughter. What radical problem are you facing? Our most radical problems are no strain on the radical power of the God who raises the dead!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ