Poor guy. He made his dream escape! And it’s not easy to escape from the Washington State Penitentiary. It took a lot of planning, perfect timing and hard work. But he did it! Then, however, he had to elude authorities. After spending a day on the run, without food or shelter, he came across a cabin in the woods. Perfect! If the place is unoccupied, it would be a chance to catch up on a little sleep, maybe scrounge up some food. If someone is home, he could get help, maybe money, use their phone to call a buddy, maybe get the car keys. So he knocks on the door….footsteps….door opens….and standing before him is one of his prison guards on vacation. I’m sure both were a bit surprised to see each other, the guard not even knowing about the escape. A short scuffle ensued, but the end result is James Russell is once again behind bars.
Be careful who you ask for help. Sometimes the people you go to will only make things worse. Once while traveling, I stopped and asked for directions. I thought I was given credible advice, but the person sent me to a nearby town. When I finally found what I was looking for, it was less than a block from the station I had stopped at looking for help.
The Bible tells us that “many advisors bring success” (Proverbs 15:22 NLT). But not all advice is equal and not all people are equally qualified to give advice. Maybe that’s why Proverbs tells us to get lots of it. Larry Burkett used to say, “A wise man looks for counsel; a foolish man listens to all of it.” You wouldn’t want to depend on me for advice on decorating your living room or landscaping your backyard. But at the same time, you shouldn’t depend on the world’s advice, no matter how much education they have, on spiritual matters, building a strong marriage or raising godly kids. When you consider the state of the secular world, looking for advice from the supposed experts is like the time my dad asked a French man for directions while in Germany. Neither spoke German, nor did they understand each other.
But God does give answers to life’s most necessary questions. His Word contains all that is necessary for “life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Much of it will contradict the conventional wisdom of this world, but the conventional wisdom of this world isn’t working out too well, is it. So when looking for counsel, find godly people who know the Word and are living it out in their own lives, and take to heart what they have to say.
When I think of James Russell and his near escape from incarceration, I can’t help but think of Paul’s words to the Galatian believers, “So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world” (Galatians 4:9 NLT)?