A woman woke up in a hospital bed on a Thursday morning. The night before, she had lain down in her own bed at home. She was both devastated and thrilled when she learned that her unconscious body had been rescued from her burning apartment by heroic firefighters.
A man and his son were traveling down a rain-soaked highway when the car skidded out of control and careened toward the median. The car rolled and landed upside down in a ditch full of storm water. The man searched blindly for his son in the submerged car, but he felt a hand on his leg and a strong pull. As he waded through neck-deep water toward safety and warmth he learned that his son had already been rescued by the police officers who had just pulled him out.
What does it feel like to be rescued? What thoughts and feelings go through the mind of a person who has been given the gift of life in such a dramatic way? Relief? Anxiety? Joy?
Christians ought to know something about what it feels like to be rescued. Jesus rescued us from the empty uncertainty of death by giving His life on the cross. Now we, too, can be resurrected from the dead as He was. But, Jesus has done much more than save us merely from physical death. Jesus also rescued us from sin and spiritual death.
As Paul approached his own physical death, the nearness of it motivated him to write some final words of instruction and encouragement to his “son in the faith,” Timothy: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2Timothy 2:1, ESV) Paul gave Timothy a valuable tool for use in his service to God: strength that comes through the knowledge of God’s grace.
Paul’s encouragement is for you, too. You were lost, but have been found. You were dead, but are now alive. That knowledge alone is enough to strengthen even the weakest soul, to give courage to the trembling heart, and to motivate God’s servant to action. You should have died, but, by the grace of God, Christ rescued you.
Now we, like the woman rescued from her burning home and the man and his son pulled from the flooded wreckage, have a second chance. The very thought of God’s grace should fill us with gratefulness, hope, and an unquenchable desire to use this new life to serve God. We have been pulled from the fire. There is no place for apathy. We have been saved from the flood. We must not take anything for granted.
We may never be rescued from a burning building or a submerged vehicle, but God has done much more for us. Now the question is: what will we do with our second chance?