Earley: Rescued by our gracious God
Published 7:56 am Friday, February 10, 2017
In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in number, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”
I think Abraham Lincoln’s words are just as true today as in his own day.
Watchman Nee (1903-72) was one of the greatest Chinese evangelists in history. He tells the story of bathing with other Christians in a stream near their camp. One of the bathers got a cramp and called out for help. Rev. Nee called out to the best swimmer to go and rescue the man. The swimmer watched calmly on the shore.
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The drowning man continued to struggle, the situation becoming worse each moment. When it looked like the man was going down for the last time, the man leaped to the rescue, and quickly and easily rescued the man.
Rev. Nee confronted the swimmer accusing him of loving his life too much and being selfish.
The swimmer said he knew what he was doing. If he had gone too soon, the drowning man would have put a death grip on him, and would have drowned them both in the river. He was right. He told Rev. Nee that the drowning man cannot be saved until he is utterly exhausted and ceases to make the slightest effort to save himself.
There is much wisdom in this story about our own salvation and sanctification. When we stop trying to save ourselves, then the Lord can step in and save us when we surrender to Him. When parts of our lives are not quite going right, these are the areas where sin is drowning us. We must come to that place where we are ready to surrender all to God and let Him remake our lives according to His holiness and plan.
Waylon Prendergast, 37, of Tampa, Florida, committed a spur-of-the-moment robbery while on his way home from a late-night drinking session. A very inebriated Mr. Prendergast forced his way into the house through an open upstairs window, filling a suitcase with cash and valuables before setting the living room on fire to cover his tracks. He then escaped through the back door and made his way home, chuckling all the way.
Only as he turned the corner into his own street, however, and discovered three fire engines outside his house, did he realize that in his drunkenness he had, in fact, burgled and ignited his own property. His comment: “I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions.”
While we may not do anything quite that stupid (at least nothing that makes the national newspapers), there are times when Christians need to stop and reflect, coming to same conclusion Mr. Prendergast did, “I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions.”
Even beyond the physical blessings, there is so much that God has given us through Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Do you take time daily to thank God for all the blessings He has showered down upon you? How long does it take you to list all your blessings? Take time today to make a list.
How often do you pray thanks to God for all His blessings? Is thanks for your salvation in Jesus Christ at the top of your list? Do you thank Him for this greatest gift of all every day?
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous columns, see www.lagrangepres.com.