Jeff Bush was asleep in his Seffner, Florida home last Thursday night when a sinkhole collapsed his bedroom and pulled him to his death. His body is unlikely to ever be recovered from the sinkhole, which now measures 30 feet across and up to 100 feet deep, and will become his final resting place.
Now a second sinkhole has appeared two miles from the first. It affects two properties, but has not caused any injuries. Such holes are caused by porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. They open without warning, which means that anyone in an affected area is at risk this morning.
Contrast this tragedy with one of the best stories of the week—the toddler who was cured of HIV. A baby born with the virus that causes AIDS was given high doses of three antiretroviral drugs within 30 hours of her birth. Two years later, doctors can find no evidence of HIV in her blood. She is the first child to be “functionally cured” of HIV, according to researchers.
One other story caught my eye this morning: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has addressed the Iranian nuclear crisis with this warning: “Words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.” He believes that Iran is nearing the “red line” when military action will be needed.
What do these stories have in common? They illustrate this fact: The sooner we respond to a crisis, the better our chances of resolving it. Jeff Bush died because a sinkhole opened beneath him without warning. A baby with HIV has been cured because drugs were administered more quickly than usual. The Iranian nuclear crisis threatens to escalate because current measures are not effective.
This principle holds across Scripture as well. Eve listened to the serpent, then examined the forbidden fruit, then ate it, then shared with her husband (Genesis 3:1-6). David noticed Bathsheba, then learned that she was married, then summoned her to his palace, then slept with her, then tried to cover up their affair, then arranged for the murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11). Lust has been defined as “the second look.”
Jeff Bush had no warning, but you and I cannot say the same: Jesus cautioned us to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). I’ve often reminded congregations that sin will always take us further than we wanted to go, keep us longer than we wanted to stay, and cost us more than we wanted to pay. It will never be easier to refuse temptation than it is right now. Why is that fact relevant to you today?