Go Get Gas! It will Soon Double in Price!

P. S. The problems that Canadians faced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were pretty trite compared to the horrendous catastrophe experienced by the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi. This devotional is not meant to downplay the true horrors of Katrina. It is simply meant to show a typical human reaction to calamities that happen far away, and to illustrate how gullible we, as humans, can be!

In the wake of hurricane Katrina, Canadians experienced a 35% price increase at the gas pumps. Fortunately for us, prices did gradually slide down, but now, two weeks later, our gas was still 10% higher than it was before the disaster struck, and the news was full of yet another hurricane due to strike the coasts of Louisiana and Texas in just two days: Hurricane Rita. The question on everyone's mind was this: What would this one do to our gas prices?

That's when my officemate came into the office, visibly excited: "The price of gas has doubled in the city! It is now more than 2$ a liter!"

"2$ a liter!" I cried. "Wha . . . Why???"

"Rita!" She answered.

"But Rita hasn't even struck yet!"

"I guess they are concerned that Rita will take out one of the biggest oil refineries in Texas," she explained. "Anyway, I hear that gas in Toronto is 2.35$ a liter, and here in town it's already 1.70$! The gas at the corner here is still 1.05$ however. I'm going to go and fill up!"

I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. I grabbed the phone and called my wife: "Fill the van with gas!" I cried. "And take all of the empty gas cans with you!" Then I jumped into my car and hurried down to the corner gas station. Whew! The price was still 1.05$!

The station wasn't busy when I arrived, but by the time I had finished pumping my gas, there was a lengthening line behind me. I felt good about my decision. Wow. We wouldn't have to pay 2$ a liter, and with all eight of those gas cans my wife was going to fill up, we would have plenty of gas until the prices slid back down. It's funny what you think. With all the horrors of Katrina, here I was, rejoicing that we had a garage full of gas at only 1.06$!

But had my wife managed to get gas before it went up in the town where we lived??? This new worry made me rush back to my office. I grabbed the phone and called her on her cell. Whew! She was waiting in a long gas line, but the price was still 1.06$. Apparently it was already up to 1.65$ in the next town over, according to what other drivers in the same line were telling her. It wouldn't be long until our prices went up too!

Even after talking with my wife, it was hard to get my mind back on work. Instead, I warned all of my colleagues about the upcoming disaster, and it wasn't long before all of them rushed off to fill their tanks, too!

We would later learn that pandemonium broke out all over Ontario that day. At some gas stations there were lines over two kilometers long. Many stations ran out of gas and had to close. At some gas bars, drivers physically attacked one another, putting some motorists in the hospital. The crime? Cutting into line! It was even necessary to call in the police to settle disputes and keep law and order for the gas attendants. But in the evening, every Ontario resident went to sleep with a sense of relief. We had all beaten the system! Our cars were full of gas BEFORE the gas hike!

There weren't so many smiles the next morning, however. Gas prices were still 1.06$ at the pumps. They only increased by a few cents when Rita actually struck, but then quickly came back down. We would soon learn that it had all been nothing but a big farce. A few Ontario gas station owners had panicked over the news of the hurricane and had rushed to increase their prices. Rumor quickly spread that all over Ontario, gas prices would double, and although most of us had not personally seen any jump at the pump, everyone, including myself, had not only believed them, but had inadvertently helped to spread the lie.

How easy it is to believe lies. We buy into rumors, often with no substantial evidence, only to be disappointed later when truth is revealed. The logic of the lie seems straight forward enough, and most don't investigate it very closely. But if we take the time to examine the facts, we might start to ask ourselves a few questions.

"Semi-truths" (another word for a lie!) Often seem to spread even more rapidly in religious circles than in the world at large. Remember Jim Jones? His lies led hundreds of people to death by suicide. But let's don't start pointing the finger too much, because the biggest lie of all times was uttered in the Garden of Eden and is still spread today: "You will be like God…" (Gen 3:5 NIV) Oh, we cushion it in a prettier package today, but it's still the same lie. We live in a world where the "I" is more important than God Himself. Independence from God is broadcasted and encouraged. God is often only welcome in our midst if He fits into our plans, and even then, He's usually treated like a Santa Clause: "Give me this… Give me that…" Unfortunately, He is then usually rejected when He does not give what we demand as quickly as we wish! Is it any wonder that we so often hear: "You can do anything, if you set your mind to it"?

The fact is that we cannot make it beyond our grave if we rely solely on ourselves: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23 NIV). The only way to separate lies from truth is by trusting solely in the Word God has given us, the Bible: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…" (2 Tim 3:16 NKJV) God's Spirit always leads to truth that is verifiable in God's Word. God will never contradict Himself: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:13 NIV)

The fact is, truth is not a concept and it's not a belief: It's Jesus Himself! "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 NIV) Truth says: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV); and "For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Rom 5:10 NIV)

It is up to us to decide what to believe in. I'm tired of "semi-truths". What about you? Isn't it time for us to wake up and put out trust in THE Truth? In Jesus Himself?

"Oh no! Gas prices will soon double!"

Who will you believe?

Rob Chaffart

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