The “Threes” of Living

Many of us have had the sensation of being underwater and needing air. In that situation, seconds are like eternity, and we will fight and claw to get a breath of air. There are very few people who can “hold their breath” for even a minute.

There is a common saying based on threes when it comes to survival or living. Most of these are not original with me and I am not sure who said any first. “Our life is in jeopardy if we have three minutes without oxygen, three hours of extreme exposure, three days without water, and three weeks without food.” The three common basics of living are food, water, and shelter (air being a given).

Generally speaking, our lives could be divided into three decades of preparation, three decades of productivity, and three decades of finishing up.

Along the same lines of thinking, there are three physical categories of living, namely, survivability, sustainability, and thrive-ability. It is one thing to survive a few days, quite another to be able to sustain your life at a reasonable level, and something else altogether to be able to thrive.

So, I would like to add one category to the “threes” we mentioned above, that is “three seconds without hope.” “Our life is in jeopardy if we have, three minutes without oxygen, three hours with extreme exposure, three days without water, three weeks without food, and three seconds without hope.

Having three seconds without hope, can quickly throw us into the three mires of despondency—desperation, depression, and dismay. But with hope we can keep fighting, keep moving, and keep living regardless of the other circumstances surrounding us.

Hope is an intangible attribute. It is not something you can wrap your hand around, but it is something you can wrap your head and heart around. Hope is that glimmer of expectation that drives you forward to another level of living. A person can be destitute of things yet if he has hope, he will get up and move forward expecting a better hour, a better day, and a better life.

I have often thought that the lack of perceived hope is the final straw that causes a person to commit suicide. If only they had an ounce of hope, it would cause a pause.

Suicide is a terrible problem in our society especially for the young. We have seen celebrities who had fame, fortune, mansions, filled garages, glamorous spouses, and yet they took their lives. That should scream a message to the rest of us not to base our lives on stuff. I firmly believe those who take their lives have exhausted their perceived hope. Hope was there, they could not perceive it.

As Christians, our lives are based on the three attributes of love, hope, and faith which are all grounded in Jesus Christ. Regardless of our situation, our hope is in Christ who supplies our needs, redeems our lives from sin and spiritual death, gives us a true purpose, fulfills the deep longing in our souls, and even gives us hope when we eventually die. “Who through Him [Jesus] believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Peter 1:21 NKJV).

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil” (Hebrews 6:19 NKJV). The biblical hope is not a wishful hope but a sure expectation that God will do what He said He would do in our lives. A dying Christian who is about to leave all their earthly possessions and to be separated from those they love; will look joyfully and hopefully over the horizon that separates time and eternity to behold the face of God.

You may be sucking air, thirsty, cold, and hungry—but you have hope in Jesus! Hope is always around the corner and over the horizon. Just because you can’t see it or feel it, does not mean it’s not there.

Don’t give up, don’t give in! Keep getting up, keep walking, keep believing, keep loving, keep hoping, and keep living!

Yours on the Journey,

Harry L. Whitt

Pathway Outreach Ministries

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