Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Rest of the Story

An Arkie's Faith column from the March 27, 2019, issue of The Mena Star.

Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. Stand by for NEWS! For many years I tried to arrange my work day so that I could be near the radio when Paul Harvey would start his daily newscast with those familiar words. Paul Harvey had a voice and style that made him seem like a friend was telling you what had happened that day. Over twenty million Americans regularly listened to Paul Harvey each week. One thousand six hundred radio stations carried his broadcast. His voice is one of the most recognizable in the history of radio.

Paul Harvey was an innovator in the news business. He was a pioneer in the blending of news and opinion. He never tried to hide that fact that his “news” broadcasts included his personal opinions and conservative bias. His show was called Paul Harvey News & Comments. While he personalized the radio news with his conservative opinions, he did it in a friendly way with heart-warming tales of average Americans, and folksy observations that made people feel at ease.

In 1945 at the age of 27, Paul Harvey began reporting the news on the Chicago radio station WENR. Soon, his broadcasts were topping the ratings in the greater Chicago area. In November 1950, the station debuted the 15-minute program, Paul Harvey News & Comments. The next year the program was nationally syndicated by the American Broadcasting Company. His distinctive delivery was heard regularly over ABC for almost 60 years, until his death in 2009. He was referred to as the most listened to man in broadcasting.

Early in his career, he began using the tagline, “and now you know the rest of the story” at the end of in-depth stories. On May 10, 1976, Paul Harley premiered a new radio series, The Rest of the Story. The new program consisted of stories presented as little-known or forgotten facts on a variety of subjects with some key element of the story, usually the name of some well-known person, held back until the end. The broadcasts always concluded with the tag line "And now you know the rest of the story."

But the rest of this story isn’t about Paul Harvey. It is about my eight-year-old granddaughter. The other day, while I was at work, the phone rang. When I answered the phone, my granddaughter said, "Papa, do you remember when we went to Colorado last year?" "Yes," I said. She went on, "do you remember when you preached on Friday night?” “Yes,” I answered. “You didn't finish the story. I was wondering what happened to the boy in the story."

Last September, the alumni association of Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado asked me to speak on Friday night of the alumni weekend. My wife and I were graduates of Campion Academy’s Class of 1973. We planned a week-long vacation in Colorado, spending time in Denver, Cedaredge, Leadville, and Loveland before attending the alumni weekend. We invited our granddaughter on the trip.

My wife and granddaughter were in the audience that Friday night when I gave my talk. I had opened and closed my talk with this story. One night a house caught fire, and a young boy was forced onto the roof. A fireman stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to the boy, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As you can imagine, he was afraid to leave the roof. The fireman kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, “I can't see you." The fireman replied, "But I can see you, and that's all that matters."

All these months later, my granddaughter was worried about the boy on the roof. She wondered what happened to him. In my talk, I had left the story open because the boy represents each one of us, and we have to decide what we are going to do.

In Acts Chapter 16, there is a story about Paul and Silas. They had been put in prison for preaching about Jesus. That night there was “a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.’ Then he brought them out and asked, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’” Acts 16:26-30 (NLT) Paul and Silas answered him, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

What must I do to be saved?  I need to believe in Jesus so much that I will trust him and jump into his arms. He can’t save me if I don’t trust him enough to jump. He can’t save me if I am busy trying to save myself. It’s time for us to really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: Believe enough to surrender our will and jump into his arms. When my granddaughter asked me what happened to the boy in the story, I told her that the boy trusted the fireman and he jumped, so he was saved.

Gentle Reader, each one of us finds ourselves in the same situation as the young boy on the roof.  We will be destroyed unless we do something. If we stay in our current situation, we will be destroyed by fire. The biggest question in our lives is, what must I do to be saved. In the little boy’s situation, the answer was; jump. What is the answer in your life? When your story is finished, what will be - the rest of the story?

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