There was a little crisp to the October evening air. The sunset was painting a masterpiece of orange and pink across the blue backdrop sky. It was relaxing to just sit on the 8th story balcony above the noise of the city, watching the oranges turn more pink and begin to fade.
That’s when I smelled the smoke. Although it was against the rules, from time to time you could smell someone grilling. But this was different. There was a bite to this smell. I could feel it in my throat as it got stronger and it began to steal my breath.
Looking across I could see the flames reflecting in the windows of the adjacent building and I started to feel the heat rising. The fear began to rise, too, as I looked closer at the reflection and could see this was no small fire. In fact, it was quickly growing and consuming at least half the floors below me.
The sirens broke through the cool air, but they brought little comfort as I had to retreat off the balcony as the flames darted up from the floor below. I felt the front door and it was more than a little warm to the touch. The smoke was now pooling on the ceiling and beginning to make its way lower and lower – filling the room.
The temperature was rising quickly, the smoke was descending rapidly and I was beginning to realize this may be how it all ends.
That’s when I heard the glass in my bedroom window shattered. As I crawled toward the sound, I saw him coming through the broken panes. He put a mask over my face, lifted me off my knees, and carried me toward the window. He guided me on to the top of the ladder. I don’t like heights, but I’ve never been so glad to descend that huge ladder with the help of the one who had rescued me.
Safely on the ground I gave him a bear hug and knew “thank you” could never cover what I felt.
I write and talk a lot about grace. Acts 20:24 is close to my heart – “…my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
I find it odd how many push back against the message of radical grace – fearing that if we teach that level of ultimate freedom people will start acting like a college freshman on his or her first night away from home. The truth is some will – but not those who understand the enormity of what they’ve been rescued from.
What would you do if you were the one caught in the burning building? How would you treat the one who crashed into your desperate situation and rescued you? Would you go egg his house? Would you key his car?
Of course not.
You’d look for ways to show your appreciation and say thank you. I’m a tax prep guy, so I’d be doing his taxes for free for the rest of his life. Is that what’s required of me? No. Nothing is required of me, but I would want to do it. I would enjoy doing it. I’d be thankful to do whatever I could to say “thank you!” And every time I got to serve him I’d remember how he had saved me.
It’s the same with the radical rescue that comes through the gospel of God’s grace. You don’t have to tell me to find ways to serve the One who rescued me – I want to do it. I get to do it. It’s an honor and privilege. And it’s the most natural thing in the world to do.
Today’s Good News is you can experience this rescue. It may not be as obvious to you as being pulled from a burning building (and, no, I’m not using the burning building as a metaphore for hell – it’s just one of the scariest scenarios I can think of). But when all is quiet and you’re alone with your thoughts, are you at peace or is your mind consumed by pressures and stress?
In my life, one of the things I notice about the Gospel is its ability to transcend the chaos of this world and bring peace when you’d least expect it.
When the true and pure Gospel message is shared, those who are rescued by it will react the same way as someone pulled from a perilous situation. When they experience unconditional love, the natural reaction will be one of doing whatever they can to reveal how thankful they are. You can experience this peace. Jesus said all that is required of us is to believe in Him (John 6). He’s already “crashed through the window.” When we turn to Him we will find the peace that only He can bring – and that’s really, really Good News!
More writing here – https://shatteredbythegospel.com/
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