Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…
Picture yourself caught by the current of the flood, at the mercy of the violent waters, when for a moment, you are pinned against some debris, in earshot of potential rescuers on the bank, you gather all of your breath and shout, “H-E-L-P!”
What exactly are you asking for?
Are you in a position to be picky about the color of rope they throw to you? Are you in a position to dictate the method of the rescue? Do you feel like you should be able to negotiate ‘how much’ rescuing you receive? In this context, all of those questions seem stupid. However, I see that same line of questioning in our culture all over the place. As if, we would rather remain in control even though there is danger, than relinquish control and be saved from the danger. I have been thinking about this for quite a while now because I have two kids who like to ask for ‘help’ but then try to negotiate the terms of their rescue.
Two weeks ago, I had an accident with the table saw. The board I was ripping started to lift off the table and I knew it was going to fly backward and hit me in the forehead. I reacted to the board, and somehow someway, got my right hand in the saw blade. It’s bad, a life changing event, and I knew it as soon as it happened. I turned off the table saw, looked at one of my employees, right hand cradled in my shirt, and said, “Call 911.” I waited for the paramedics to arrive and have placed myself in the care of medical professionals ever since (typing all of this with my left hand as we speak). I didn’t try to manage the situation, I didn’t try to negotiate my treatment schedules, I grabbed hold of the rope they offered me and let them pull me to safety. I realize that when I shout “HELP”…I surrender my need to be in charge and give that mantle to somebody else.
My kids don’t get this, our culture doesn’t get this, the lost (and sadly the church) thinks that everything is negotiable. If we feel like we can negotiate our own rescue then we are not actually asking for “HELP”. We may be asking to alleviate the stress or anxiety of a certain situation, but we are not crying out for “HELP”. We may be asking for a band-aid when major surgery is really what needs to be done. We are assuming that we still know best, even though it was our own decision making that caused us to be in the situation we now need rescued from. When Jesus rose on the third day, He defeated evil, broke the back of sin, and took the sting from death. He did all of these things so that He could redeem us, or buy us back from, the sinful condition we were in. What this means, very simply, is that God paid for us, bought us, claimed us with blood payment…and He wants what He paid for. It was up to us whether we placed ourselves on the sale rack, whether we made ourselves available to be purchased, whether we said “HELP”.
When I go through the drive-thru and order a ‘value meal’, I want all of the meal. I want the fries, the burger, and the drink. I don’t want to negotiate whether or not the fries are included, or whether or not they “want” to be part of the ‘value meal’. God wants all of us to serve all of Him. He isn’t holding anything back, He ‘redeemed’ us (paid for us) with Himself…and He wants what He paid for, which is all of us. “HELP” means “I give up”, it means “I surrender”, it means we are ready for somebody else to take control. It means we can’t make up ‘faith’. If we are not ready for God to have control of our life, then we don’t want “HELP”.
The bystanders looked on as the rescuers tried again and again to rescue the young man trapped against the debris by the rushing flood waters. When they returned to their homes later that evening, they reflected on the young man who would not let go of the debris to grab the rope. No matter how close to his hand the rescuers would get the rope, the young man would not let go of his purchase on the debris. After much reflection, they came to the conclusion that the young man just didn’t trust that he could ‘let go’ and grab the rope before sinking.