In this season of Advent, we celebrate the coming of Jesus yet are we mindful of why He came? He came to rescue us – to do what we could not and cannot do for ourselves. All it takes is our willingness to repent, to receive the rescue and begin a relationship with Him.
Repent means to come back home, return or restore. If we were not already His, there would be nothing to return to, no relationship to restore, to ‘home’ to back to. So when we repent, when we turn our hearts to the Lord, we are, in a very real sense, come back to where we belong.
It’s like the old story about the guy who starts to pray during a hurricane – God, if it’s your will, please save me. Pretty soon, the storm beats his house, the water is starting to flood in so he goes upstairs and starts looking out the window, still praying “God, if it’s your will, please save me.” His neighbors row by in a boat, as the water is almost level with his 2nd story window sill and ask him “Do you want a ride?” He says, “No, that’s ok, God is going to save me.” The storm continues to rage and the water level rises. The man ultimately gets on top of the roof to his house. A rescue helicopter hovers overhead and they call down to him “Sir, we’re going to lower a basket, get in and we’ll pull you up into the helicopter.” The man says, “No, that’s ok, God is going to save me.” So the helicopter leaves. Soon, the winds pick up, creating huge waves and the man is swept off the roof and drowns. When he gets to heaven, he says “Hey God, I thought you were going to save me? How come you let me die?” And God says, “Well, I sent a boat and then a helicopter – what were you waiting for?
We often live like that man. God has sent His only Son to save us – to rescue and redeem. Yet we live like there’s some other option, some special plan just for us – maybe we can do it ourselves if we work hard enough, maybe we can get a special exemption because we’re such a good person, maybe we can get saved by osmosis if we hang out at church long enough…
In our culture, we elevate independence to the point of unnecessary suffering and isolation. We interpret asking for or needing help as weakness and weakness as bad. Are you tired? Exhausted? Working so hard to do everything on your own?
You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be alone…God has promised Himself to us. Will you receive the promise?