The game of “chicken’ involves two people on a collision course testing their nerve to see who will change course first to avoid a crash. Ray Stedman recounts a real life situation from his navy days.
“Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on manouevres in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.
Lookout replied, “Steady captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship.
The captain then called to the signalman,
“Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you to change course 20 degrees.”
Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”
The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a petty officer second class,” came the reply. “You had better change course 20 degrees.”
By that time, the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”
Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
WE CHANGED COURSE.”
Years ago, we attended a working bee for the Christian Institute for the Blind, and met the director Peter Sumner and his wife Pearl. Peter shared about the day he briefly regained his sight and saw Pearl for the first time. “I was overjoyed to see her, and utterly amazed at what good taste I had, but sadly, the darkness returned.” The Lord showed Peter that he’d been called to bring the light of God’s Truth to those in darkness –whether blind or not – and point them to Jesus as the Light of the world. The lighthouse became their symbol of hope, and the Braille bible their tool.
God’s truth is like that lighthouse—and we are like that battleship. If we think we can chart our own course and ignore the light of His Word – which is true – then we are fooling ourselves. Those who listen to God’s unchanging truth will be directed to safer waters, but those who try to play chicken with God will only hurt themselves.
Let Jesus lead you away from the rocks – or pull you off them before they smash you to pieces – and hold you in His everlasting arms.
“The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
There was a really good message in this, and I appreciated the encouragement of that. The concept of "playing chicken" was a really good one to use with regard to our relationship with Christ and His Truth.
However, my critique would be to avoid using anecdotes that are fairly tired or have been used as jokes for many years (as the lighthouse and battleship one is). I wasn't even sure it was a true story, but did some research and it apparently appeared in a naval journal some years ago. It also was only something Ray Stedman used in one of his articles (not his own experience). The thing I recommend to people when writing inspirational articles is to avoid using anything they have heard or seen used elsewhere (in another article, in a sermon, etc). If you've heard it before, then others will have too, and that can make an article feel tired. It is always far more impacting to use an experience you or someone close to you has had.
By contrast, the example of Peter Sumner was perfect. That was something you heard straight from the horse's mouth, and it is unlikely your readers would have heard the same thing.
Anyway, I always like an encouraging message, and this fit the bill.
Hope to see you in the Writing Challenge one day (and as a 500 member, hope you may consider entering this year's Non-Fiction Page Turner contest).