Survival Tip #8: Learn From The Past

Survival Tip #8: Learn From The Past

Please inquire of past generations, and consider the things searched out by their fathers. For we are only of yesterday and know nothing.
–Job 8:8-9

Juliane Koepcke did not grow up like most girls. Her parents were well-known German zoologists who lived and worked in Peru. When she was fourteen years old, Juliane’s parents established a research station in the heart of the jungle, and she became a “jungle child.” They had no running water. Every morning they shook out their rubber boots to dislodge poisonous spiders before trekking into the jungle. After eighteen months of traipsing through the rainforest, Juliane traveled to Lima to finish high school, graduating in December 1971. During the flight home, the plane flew into a storm. Turbulence rocked the cabin. Juliane saw a blinding light over the right wing, and the plane began to plummet. The next thing she knew, she was outside the plane, still strapped to her seat, and falling head-first from nearly ten thousand feet. She blacked out. On the ground, Juliane came to with a concussion and a broken collarbone–and she was alone in an uninhabited part of the rainforest. Thankfully she was comfortable in the jungle. She knew that streams lead to rivers, and that people live along rivers. So she found a stream. She knew that piranhas are dangerous only in shallow water, so she waded into the middle of the stream and began to float. All she had to eat was a bag of sweets, which lasted only a few days. But she knew she could drink from the middle of the stream with little danger of dysentery. She floated for days until she heard the call of hoatzins, large birds that nest along large rivers and open water. Following the sound through dense foliage, Juliane came to a river, and the river led her to a logging camp. Ten days after the crash, she was found by forest workers. It was a miracle–not only that she survived the fall from the airplane, but that she also survived ten days in a Peruvian rainforest, injured, wearing only a minidress and one sandal.

To survive, Juliane relied on her past experiences, but she also relied on the lessons she had learned from her parents. From her father she learned that creeks lead to rivers, and rivers lead to people. From her mother, an ornithologist, she learned about the hoatzins.

People who survive difficult circumstances often rely on lessons from the past, like Juliane did. Did you know every one of us is living in difficult circumstances? We are surrounded by dangers–from a hostile culture, from Satan, and from our own sinful nature. If we are going to survive in this world, we have to employ the same survival tips that survivalists use. This week we are studying survival tip #8: learn from the past, whether it is our own past or the experiences of others who have gone before us. Job 8:8-9 says, “Please inquire of past generations, and consider the things searched out by their fathers. For we are only of yesterday and know nothing.” In other words, “We cannot know everything there is to know on our own. Learn the lessons of the past.” That is the key to surviving and thriving.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #8: Learn From The Past” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

Sally Williams, “Sole Survivor: The Woman Who Fell To Earth,” The Telegraph, March 22, 2012,

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.