Several years ago my late husband and I were on a business trip in Orlando and, at its conclusion, we took a day to visit Disney World.
As we made our way through one of the parks, an attraction beckoned us in. The building loomed large and mysterious ~ inviting visitors into story and adventure. Entering the lobby of a 1930’s hotel, bellhops donned in period clothing engaged in conversation that created a humorous tension in the wait. Sporadic screams of the thrill seekers echoed in the air, as the tale continued to be spun with those moving ever closer to the elevator ride. Their destination? The missing 13th floor! There, the doors are flung open and the elevator car drops 13 stories. Great fun, except for one little thing. It carried the unpredictable risk of motion sickness. Evidently more than a few people had experienced that side affect because the closer we got to the actual ride, the more signs appeared announcing a “Chicken Exit”. As we shuffled along, I had time to weigh my options.
I wasn’t fond of leaving my stomach several stories higher than my body just for thrills. Having experienced motion sickness in its full wrath, I knew the after affects and decided this was a gracious offer on Disney’s part. I spotted a bellhop and posed the question. “Excuse me, how do I get to the Chicken Exit?” His face froze and he answered ominously “You … want … the Chicken Exit?” Apparently chicken-exitors were considered part of the entertainment and the dialogue that ensued caused people to stare … and laugh. “I do!”, I said as I held my head up, displayed my feathers and told my husband I would meet him at the finish point of the ride ~ all able-bodied and ready to enjoy the rest of the day. Waiting for his arrival, I witnessed a few people that would have done well to have heeded the signs.
I’ve given some thought to the value of having a way out. I confess that I search for it on a deeper level when life hurts. When the bottom drops out and I sorrow for what is gone. For days wasted, relationships lost, lives broken, dreams shattered ~ when evil seems empowered and hope is deferred until only God knows when. These are times when I long for an exit from the pain of a sin-sick world. The Good News is God offers one.
The Bible is filled with assurances of this truth and one of them is found in Psalm 68:19-20. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.”
You would think that people would flock to such an offer. The reality is the world has little interest in pausing long enough to praise God and even less interest in admitting need of the Savior. That should neither surprise nor discourage believers. What it should do is motivate us to share the truth and love of Christ with those on the brink of plunging to an abyss from which they cannot return.
Yes, some will stare and laugh and label us with titles less noble than “chicken”. But what does it matter? For when you make your final exit and the doors open to eternity, you will know it was the best decision you ever made. And just maybe others will accept the offer and follow.