Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Psalms 35:9 Then my soul will rejoice in the LORD and delight in his salvation.
Imagine this scene – hundreds of people are frantically swimming upstream in the Niagara River within 100 yards of the falls. Every minute dozens more are swept over the edge to their deaths. Suddenly a man appears floating through the crowd wearing a life jacket, seemingly unconcerned about what lies ahead. He is speaking to all the people who are struggling, saying “I’m saved! I’m saved!” He is hanging on to a rope attached to a net filled with life jackets, and he is trying to get others to wear one. They ignore him, calling him a fool, believing that all the life jacket will do is provide a false sense of security. Death will still happen unless you can get out of the water. So, they keep struggling to go one way while the man in the life jacket keeps floating through them, at peace with his situation and his direction.
As they approach the edge of the falls, the screams increase as people realize they are about to pass into eternity. They still hear the shouts of the man in the life jacket – “I’m saved! I’m saved!” They cannot understand why he is at such peace with his situation, and why he is spending more time looking up than he is looking around at the danger. The crowd is having difficulty making any progress away from the edge, but he is not even resisting the flow. He is not even facing away from the falls, but is looking directly at them. They do not understand why he is not trying to escape. They are tired of fighting the current. With their backs to the falls, and their eyes on the water, they put their last bit of energy into one final attempt to swim away, but it is useless. As they pass over the edge their eyes catch a glimpse of the man in the life jacket. He has stopped just before reaching the edge, appearing to hang motionless in midair. They see a cable that has been strung from one shore to the other, just above head level, to which the man has attached a snap hook that is attached by another cable to his life jacket. If only they had looked up instead of at the danger around them they might have seen it. Suddenly they realize why he had not been concerned about the falls. He knew that the cable was there and that he would be saved because he had put on the life jacket with the safety hook. The crowd falls to their deaths fully aware that they could have been saved from it.
Every day we have to float through the same waters as everyone else, heading toward the same destination of death. But we have been given the life jacket of faith and the hook of hope in the glory of God. Many of us have chosen to completely rest in that faith and hope, and live in peace with our circumstances. Every day we float down the river, spending most of our time trying to hand out life jackets to those who do not have one.
But others with life jackets appear to be fighting the current, the waves, and the rocks just like those who do not have one. Their eyes are focused on their immediate circumstances and they are expending all their energy seeking to avoid the dangers that are around them and the pain they might cause. They have no time to tell others that they are saved because they are so intent on using their life jacket to gain an edge on others. They have lost the ability to rejoice in their salvation because they have replaced their hope in the glory of God with a desire for personal safety and security. They have forgotten about the hook on their life jacket and believe the jacket’s only purpose is to give them an advantage while they are in the river.
I admit there are elements of this analogy that don’t completely work, but I think you get my drift. Our hope is in the glory of God. Our faith is in Jesus Christ, the Life Preserver. Even though we must float through the river of life, we do not need to fight it. We do not need to spend our time fighting the current and checking for rocks. We simply need to rest in the saving power of the Life Preserver, and rejoice that we are saved. The Psalmist said it this way in Psalms 91:9 – 16…
“If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Therefore, spend every day in the river as a rescuer. Let it be known that you are saved, and start making the Life Preserver available to others. You’re not going to go over the falls. You will be brought safely to the other shore. Quit fighting the waves and the current, and rejoice in your salvation. Others are looking for what you have.