For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. – John 3:16-18
One year after Gail and I moved from California (1988), the Los Angeles Times reported that a young woman had been trapped in her car after falling asleep at the wheel just after midnight on a Saturday morning. The car had plunged through a guard rail and was dangling by its left rear wheel. Several motorists stopped, grabbed some ropes from one of their vehicles, tied the ropes to the back of the woman’s car, and hung on until the fire units arrived. A ladder was extended from below to help stabilize the car while firefighters tied the vehicle to tow trucks with cables and chains.
“Every time we would move the car,” said one of the rescuers, “she’d yell and scream. She was in pain.” It took almost three hours for the passers-by, California Highway Patrol officers, tow truck drivers, and firefighters – about 25 people in all — to secure the car and pull the woman to safety.
“It was kinda funny,” fire captain Ross Marshall later recalled. “She kept saying, ‘I’LL DO IT MYSELF!’”
Absurd, isn’t it? And yet, we’re all trapped in a world that is very much like that car. Doing life in a natural and social environment that is broken, damaged, corrupt, and condemned, we keep assuring ourselves that we “got this!” But we don’t. And we never did. If we could only see what God sees…
Created to live in relationship with Him, we have all run away. Designed to live with others by reflecting His love and mercy, we formulate our own ideas about how to live with people, leaving broken hearts and emotional debris in the wake of our selfishness. Endowed with a heart where God can come and commune with us, we have chosen to blockade the doors, denying God access to our hearts, darkening the windows of our souls, and becoming empty caricatures of humanity. Hanging from a very brief thread of physical existence, we disparage and disregard the only God out there who is listening. The result? There’s no hope in that scenario… we are condemned already.
But, in spite of everything we have become… everything we have said… and everything we have done… He loves you and me. What was the Jesus doing entering this world as a baby in Bethlehem? It was a rescue mission. He was coming after us. The goal? To keep you from perishing… to give you everlasting life.
We can keep reassuring ourselves and one another that we can do it ourselves. Or we can believe in Him, surrender control, and rely completely on Him and not ourselves for getting through this life.
Saved from certain disaster. Saved to be enveloped by His love and inhabited by His life. Not so bad… considering where you’re hanging from right now.
I thank God for rescuing me. He is my Christmas Revolution. Is He yours?