A video came across my newsfeed recently of an elephant calf being swept downstream while her herd was attempting to cross a river. She lost her footing and before anyone realized what was happening, the muddy water overtook her. You could barely see the top of her head poking above the stream as the waters rushed by. The current was too much for her; she would make slight progress toward the riverbank before again being pulled downstream. Before long, though, a much larger elephant came down the bank and rescued the one in danger. She pulled her up – her face finally coming into the sunlight when moments before she was at risk of drowning. Within moments, the whole herd climbed back up the bank and moved on from the river, the smaller elephant sticking closely to the side of her rescuer.
Inexplicably, but I began weeping as I watched it. I love elephants, yes…but there was something else pulling on my spirit as I watched it again. The video finished, I clicked out of Facebook, and put on some music as I started to work for the day. As the first song began to play and its lyrics washed over me, it became clear what my heart had been feeling just a few minutes earlier.
I was lost. I was in chains. The world had a hold of me.
My heart was a stone. I was covered in shame when He came for me.
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His presence.
I couldn’t run, couldn’t run from His arms.
Jesus, He loves me. He loves me. He is for me.
(Chris Tomlin, “Jesus Loves Me”)
And that explained everything.
There was a time when I, young and inexperienced, lost my footing. Before I knew what was happening, the current of culture began pulling me downstream and submerging me in darkness. The strength of the world around me was more than my undeveloped faith and uncertain identity could withstand. Weighed down by shame and fear, I was overtaken. I gasped for truth…for light…for hope in the same way that someone drowning might gasp for air.
I couldn’t help myself. There was nothing I could do.
But then He came. He came into the stream…came into the rushing, swirling filth that I had allowed to become my life. He came down to me in a place where I was helpless to save myself and doubtful that I could be saved. He stepped in. He grabbed me up. He brought me to shore to begin a new journey by His side and in His guidance.
And today, on Easter, I celebrate my rescue in a fresh way. I celebrate my rescue in a way that only one who has been submerged and facing certain death can. I celebrate my rescue with a gratitude that brings tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart to know more of the One who rescued me. I celebrate my rescue with a renewed resolve to draw closer to the One who gave everything to give me life.
Friend, today, wherever you are on your journey, there is a Rescuer who has stepped into your journey with you. You may stand, as I do, on the bank of a rushing river contemplating what was and could have been. You may still be in the rushing waters, crying out for One who is stronger than you to pull you to safety. You may not even be fully aware of the treacherous waters, but your heart leaps a little at the thought of being rescued. Wherever you are and whatever your story looks like today, the One whose resurrected life we celebrate is calling you out of the darkness that sweeps you away. He beckons you again into the Light of His life. He invites you again to stay close to Him as you continue your journey together.
Jesus loves you. Oh…..how He loves you.