Since I was awake this morning at 3:00 a.m., I flipped on the television to see if I could find out what was happening with Hurricane Sandy. After a few minutes of news, I caught a brief video clip of some rescue workers wading through waist-deep water down a city street. What were they doing? The voice-over said that they were rescuing people trapped in upper stories of buildings, who had ignored the evacuation order.
As I watched, I thought, "I wonder how these rescue workers feel about this -- putting their own lives in jeopardy in order to save people who were in a bad situation through their own fault. I wonder if they're thinking I'd rather be home with my wife and kids than helping out someone who wouldn't even follow the directions they were given..."
But regardless of what they were thinking, they were out on the streets in the middle of a horrible storm, risking their own lives.
And then as I saw one of the rescued people walk to the foreground of the video frame, I thought, "I wonder how the people feel who are being rescued -- there must be some strange mix of joy and shame: joy for their salvation, and shame that they had to put someone in such a dangerous position for their salvation."
Isn't that how our spiritual salvation is? We are in need of salvation through our own grievous fault, though our own inability to follow directions. And our rescuer did not say, "I'd rather just stay at home tonight..." He not only risked his life, but he also gave his life -- a cruel death offered up for people who were, at heart, His own enemies.
And so I think of these words from Isaac Watts:
Thus might I hide my blushing face
When His dear cross appears;
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
And melt mine eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe;
Dear Lord I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do.