A few sunny days ago, my typically leisurely homeward-bound commute was extended by a traffic slowdown on the highway. As all three lanes slowed to about 20 mph, then to stop-and-go, it became evident that there had been an accident. Rather than get impatient with whatever was up ahead impeding my progress, delaying my arrival, denying my right to clear sailing, I began to wonder about the necessary chain of events immediately following an interstate crash. Advancing finally upon the multi-vehicle scene cluttered with flashing arrows redirecting traffic, police vehicles, also with lights flashing, fire trucks, ambulances and two tow trucks, I allowed myself to imagine the massive communication, coordination, cooperation, efforts not to mention the urgency such situations required. Since then, I’ve been marveling at all that had to be in place, all the training that had to have been completed, all the combined professionalism required, the levelheadedness and calm demanded, for the seamless response of these various agencies. When the call went out about the horrific scene I had just witnessed, all these responders sprang into action to arrive at yet another chaotic crash site, squeezing past the hundreds of vehicles already stacking up in all lanes, and instantly began assessing the scene, securing the site, directing traffic, providing emergency medical services to the life or lives impacted, acting quickly but efficiently and in orderly fashion to lead to the best possible outcome for all concerned. I’m filled with fresh gratitude to all those men and women who have chosen, sacrificially, to dedicate themselves to serving in such precarious circumstances to be of help and rescue to the rest of us.
Jesus is a kind of divine emergency rescue team to those mired in sin, lost and lonely and without God or hope in this world. Scripture tells us Jesus came and rescued us by dying for us while we were stuck in our sin-sick plight. What an incredible effort was required! The death of God’s own Son! And, just like those involved in the accident described above, there is much continuing care needed following the wreckage of lives that were given over to darkness. And as ambulances race to hospitals with the battered bodies of crash victims in need of extensive medical intervention, we, the newly rescued/redeemed, are in need of great heart and soul repair, repeated assurances that Someone really loves us, long, long periods of rehab, constant repetitions that we will ‘make it,’ and a lifelong training program in how to live these new, wildly exotic/forever lives we’ve been given. It makes my head spin simply pondering all I’ve caught, all I’ve learned (not to mention all I’ve forgotten!), all I’ve experienced, and then all I have yet to grow up into! (it’s been 56 years since I responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow him and I realize I have so much more yet to learn, so much more love to receive, so much more of that love to give away!) One of the sweetest equipping aspects of this Jesus-apprenticeship journey, though, is the multi-faceted, super abundant Grace-gifting which builds us up to a state of readiness to respond to those yet sin-mired. What a generous God is He! What a holy privilege is ours! On to the next training session. See y’all tomorrow at 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD