“The Final Summit” is a book by Andy Andrews. He’s an author that has a fascinating testimony of how he went from being homeless, living under a pier in the Gulf Shores area, to a best-selling author.
His first book, “The Traveler’s Gift,” chronicles the story of a man named David Ponder who has recently taken several hits. He’s lost his job, his daughter has been recently diagnosed with a medical problem that requires a trip to the hospital that he can’t afford – he feels surrounded by an ocean of disasters and obligations that he cannot rise above.
Feeling desperate, he puts his foot on the gas and navigates his vehicle in a way that sends him into a tailspin. As he’s careening out of control, his last thought it that perhaps his life insurance will fill in the financial gaps that he can’t address. He slips into unconsciousness and wakes up…
…in the presence of Harry Truman.
Harry Truman. 33rd President of the United States. David has been transported back in time as a “traveler” and will have the opportunity to speak with several prominent individuals, each of whom will give him a word of wisdom that will transform his perspective.
It’s a phenomenal book and is among the “Read This” list of books touted by “Good Morning America.”
The Final Summit
“The Traveller’s Gift” sets the stage for “The Final Summit.” David Ponder is back, only this time, he’s the facilitator of a meeting where the best of the best from human history are tasked with having to save the human race by coming up with the correct answer to the question: What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?
The list of personalities that contribute to the effort to answer the question is inspiring. And while the entire account is obviously fictitious, the conclusions and the epiphanies that lead up to the answer are both wise and practical.
It’s a great read and I’ve come to appreciate Andy as an amazing writer. He’s able to weave practical wisdom and thought provoking truth into a story line that keeps you engaged in a way where you’re not even aware of how profoundly you’re being affected.
While there are several instances of noteworthy statements and ideas that make you want to pause and write them down, there’s one exchange between Gabriel, the archangel and David Ponder that I especially liked.
“What Are the Chances of That?”
Up to this point, the dynamic is tense. While the personalities that have gathered for this summit is impressive, they have yet to deliver the correct answer to the question and time is running out. In one particular instance, as Gabriel is leaving the room having just told the group that they have failed yet again, he makes a comment about how difficult it will be to arrive at the correct answer because of humanity’s arrogance.
David asks him to elaborate, hoping to glean some clues that would steer the group in the right direction. Gabriel obliges by saying that his analysis didn’t necessarily refer to those gathered for this summit, rather it was human beings in general – especially those belonging to the current age – that surmised themselves as possessors of humanity’s greatest moment, despite the fact that previous eras, even those that are viewed as ancient, were capable of extraordinary things that required advanced thinking. The bottom line is that we are too proud of ourselves and excel at categorizing anything we don’t completely understand as the result of chance. Here are his words:
“David Ponder,” the archangel said carefully, “your civilization is enamored with the concept of chance. Chance. Luck. Randomness. A philosophy of contingency upon probabilities and possibilities. Chance – no assignable cause.
“You have embraced the idea of chance so completely that you have created entertainment to further the notion, and buildings and cites as monuments to the concept. You allow chance to steal your money and wasted your time. Chance is given credit for the children you bear and the legacy you pass on to them The idea of chance has made you greedy. Worse, it has made you arrogant. It has corrupted your minds, for now, many of you dare to attribute your world, your universe, your very existence…to ‘chance.’
“Here is your clue, David Ponder: In a path of perfection that has existed since the second day, your Earth revolves 366 times during one orbit of the sun. Earth is exactly 366 percent larger than your moon. Conversely, your moon takes 27.32 days to orbit the Earth and is exactly 27.32 percent of the earth’s size. Your moon is 400 times closer to the Earth than it is to your sun and exactly 400 times smaller than the sun. As the moon turns, the speed of the lunar equator is 400 kilometers per hour.”
Gabriel paused, then moved again toward the door, which was opening wide to meet him. Before he crossed the threshold, however, he turned, glanced around the room, and said, “What are the chances of that?”
The exquisite mathematics that comprise our universe make it very difficult for naysayers to dismiss the obvious presence of a Creator. Some bristle at that for a variety of reasons, but from the standpoint of a small businessman it can be downright encouraging.
The God Gap
So much effort goes into marketing and planning – hoping to catch the attention of your potential customer in a way that results in a receipt. It’s a daunting task when there’s so little that can be completely anticipated or controlled. Regardless of how much money you spend or how clever your campaign is, the end result isn’t guaranteed.
You could envision it like the graphic you see to the below. The “God Gap” is that variable that prevents anyone from taking total credit for whatever they’ve been able to accomplish. Inevitably, you are confronted with things that you cannot control and it’s there where God steps in, whether He’s acknowledged or not, and accomplishes what no one is able to accomplish on their own.
It’s not something to resent or to use as an excuse for not giving your best effort. Rather, it’s a healthy reminder that our future is not a matter of chance. Just like the intricacies of our universe have been ordered, so our are lives navigated by a loving God, and that includes our most recent marketing campaign (see Psalm 139:16; Jas 4:13-16).
So, if you’re in a spot right now where you’re overly concerned about something that needs to happen and you’re wondering if you’ve done everything that you can in order to secure the desired result, remember the “God Gap.” No matter how big your budget may be or how few the members of your staff, there is always a gap that justifies both confidence and humility. The result is always in God’s Hands. Give Him the credit when it’s done, give Him the burden when it’s not and be confident that the outcome is never a matter of “chance.”