Ponderings with Doug – July 29, 2016

Ken Davis has a book with the intriguing title I Don’t Remember Dropping the Skunk, But I Do Remember Trying to Breathe. In it he tells about an assignment he was given in college to teach a class as creatively as possible. He decided to teach the law of the pendulum, a law of physics that states that a pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it is released. If you put a ball on the end of a string and release it so that it is free to swing, when it returns it can’t go any higher than the point from which you released it. In fact, because of friction and gravity, it will fall short of the release point. Each time it swings, the arc gets smaller and smaller until it finally comes to rest. Ken used all kinds of diagrams, mathematical formulas, and models to teach the law of the pendulum to the class, and he could tell by the look on the teacher’s face that the teacher thought he had done well.

When Ken finished, he asked the class how many believed in the law of the pendulum. All hands flew up, including the teacher’s. The teacher thought the lesson was over at this point but it had just started. Ken asked his teacher to come to the front of the room and sit in a chair placed against the wall. Suspended from the ceiling Ken had rigged 250 pounds of weight-lifting disks. This was a big pendulum. Ken brought the 250 pounds of metal right up to the teacher’s nose and said, “If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of where I am holding it now. Your nose will still look like it does right now.” Ken looked his teacher right in the eye and said, “Sir, do you believe this law is true?”

There was a long pause as great drops of sweat formed on his teacher’s upper lip. Then weakly, his teacher nodded and whispered, “Yes.”

Ken released the pendulum. At the far end of its arc it paused momentarily and then started back. Ken says he has never seen a man move so fast in his life!

Carefully, Ken stepped around the still-swinging pendulum and asked the class, “Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?”

In unison they answered, “No!”

Ken’s professor understood the law, but he was unwilling to trust his nose to it. After a short discussion, a student volunteered to sit in the chair. Even though his face contorted in fear as the pendulum started back, he stayed put. But it stopped an inch from his nose and swung away from him again. Now his faith in the law was strengthened. The next time the pendulum swung, he didn’t even blink.

Life is like that pendulum at times. We see it coming at us and wonder how much pain it will cause. Jesus is an antidote to fear. Following Jesus is better than blink, flinch, or run. Try Him!

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