Life can be overwhelming, our walls close in on us, breathing becomes labored, our nights are spent tossing and turning. If this sounds like you, you've come to the right place...sometimes we all just need a small bowl of inspiration to put us back on track.
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church's Pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest Minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the Pastor told the congregation that the guest Minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service. With that, the elderly gentleman stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.
"A father, and his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast," he began... "when a fast storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized."
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with his story...
"Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the end of the life line? He had only seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son's friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves.
As the father yelled out 'I Love You, Son!' he threw out the life line to his son's friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black night. His body was never recovered," the old man said sadly.
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old Minister's mouth.
"The father," he continued, "knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son's friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed is son to save the son's friend. How great is the love of God that he should do the same for us? Our Heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son so that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the life line He is throwing out to you in this service."
With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The Pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. But, within moments after the service ended, the two boys were at the old man's side.
"That was a nice story," politely stated one of the boys, "but, I don't think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son's life in hopes that the other would become a Christian."
"Well, you've got a point there," the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. As a big smile broadened his narrow face, he looked up again at the boys and said, "It sure isn't very realistic, is it? But, I'm here today to tell you this story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His only Son for me. You see... I was that father, and your Pastor is my son's friend."
This father gave up EVERYTHING. He did not know for certain if his son's friend would ever come to know Christ. But he didn't want to see this child die without having the opportunity to know Jesus. He had complete FAITH that the Lord had a plan for this young boy. How many of us would save another over our own child? It seems incomprehensible to have even been faced with a decision like that!
We face situations daily on a much smaller scale, yet we find it hard to have faith that the Lord has us in the palm of his hand. How do we overcome our doubt and fear? How can we gain the faith we need to make it through our trials? It is very simple, yet we never fully grasp the simplicity of it. Our human minds have a hard time understanding that God can and will take care of us. That is why we need to grow closer to the Lord so he can transform our minds and change us. How do we grow closer to the Lord? The answer to all our questions is found by reading God's word daily and praying (talking to him) throughout the day. Not just in the morning or in the evening...but every time the enemy tries to take hold of your thoughts. Call on your to help you...he can and will be your rescue line.
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Let's continue to grab our rescue lines, the Bible and Prayer, so that we will have a strong foundation when the storms come. We will be built upon the rock of God and his only begotten son Jesus Christ's love and protection.