"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Friday, October 07, 2005

ANXIETY is the curse

ANXIETY is the curse of modern man.  But it was also the curse of ancient man.  Fears over the future; worries about the present and despair about the present is endemic in mankind.  

In William Goldman’s brilliant novel from the 70’s, MARATHON MAN , Tom "Babe" Levy is a runner in every sense: racing tirelessly toward his goals of athletic and academic excellence - and endlessly away from the specter of his famous father's scandal-driven suicide. But an unexpected visit from his beloved older brother  set in motion a chain of events that plunge Babe into a vortex of terror, treachery, and murder - and force him into a race for his life...and for the answer to the fateful question,  "Is it safe?"

Szell the butcher dentist of Hitler’s Germany, based upon Joseph Mengele, is forced to come to the U.S. to retrieve some of his wealth.  He is obsessively worried about his safety.  So he grabs  “Babe”; a history major and a distance runner, and the younger brother of  a man in the governmental underworld who knows Szell in hopes he can establish whether or not it is safe for him to be in the U.S.  Tying Babe into a chair, he carefully prepares his dental tools planning to torture  Babe until he get the truth.  Unluckily  Babe knows nothing about Szell or his safety so when Szell, holding the drill in his face asks, “Is it safe?” Babe goes “Yes, yes it’s safe.”  Szell drills a tooth then asks again, “Is it safe?”  Babe figures the first answer he gave was wrong so he gives the opposite; “No, no it’s not safe.”  Szell drills again.  Then tension and the terror in the book and in the movie are exquisite.  Ultimately Babe manages to escape for the moment but continues to be pursued by Szell and his henchmen.

In the end, Babe tracks down and sneaks up on  Szell  and softly utters, “It’s not safe.”  And for Szell it wasn’t.

The question we ask: “Is it safe?”

The answer is: “No, it’s not safe.”

Will my spouse always be with me?  “It’s not safe.”   Will my children outlive me?  “It’s not safe.”  Will I always have a shelter, a bank account?  “It’s not safe.”  Will the laws and the police protect me?  “It’s not safe.”
Will my illnesses and pains be manageable?  “It’s not safe.”

If I die, will I go to a good place?  “It’s not safe.”

Jesus Christ said follow me and I will make it safe.   I believe that’s our only chance.  Otherwise the answer to all questions must be, “It’s not safe.”

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