Break the Chain The Ant and the Contact Lens

Created 8/13/2001 (6/9/2003) Inspirational stories like this one are popular on the Internet because they make us think and appreciate the values we hold dear. Unfortunately, when they are presented as "true stories," we often accept them without question, causing any of a number of problems.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

A true story by Josh and Karen Zarandona

Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she Was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff.

In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took a hold on the rope, and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her Contact lens. Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet below Her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there.

Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains, thinking of that Bible verse that says, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole Earth." She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it!

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why you want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what you want me to do, I'll carry it for you."

I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and It's awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will." God doesn't

Call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

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At first glance, this one appears to be the type of parable a preacher might use to teach his congregation to carry God's load without question. In that context, there are no reasons to believe the events actually happened or even could happen. But here we are told that this is a true story And even who the authors are.

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The only problem is that Josh and Karen Zarandona are not the authors of this "true story." They only passed it on, inadvertently adding their names in another case of False Attribution Syndrome.

Nonetheless, someone has taken credit for it and assures all doubters that it is, indeed, a true story. Elisabeth Elliot published The story above in her 1995 book, "Keep A Quiet Heart" (Servant Publications, Ann Arbor Michigan). She says the story is a first-person account given to her from Brenda Foltz of Princeton, Minnesota.

In this instance, false attribution is fairly harmless (except for the litany of unwanted phone calls and e-mails the Zaradona's get about it). However, consider what might happen should your name get attached to this one. Break this chain.

What Do You Think?

Category: General Junk
References: TruthOrFiction.com, LegacyOfHope.org

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