Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Rare, Brave and Amazing Rescue!

A 2-year old toddler has been given a second change at life due to the heroics of a stranger passing by just as the young child fell an incredible ten long stories from her family’s apartment window.

Apparently, Zhang Fangyu slipped off the ledge after being left unattended by her grandmother who amazingly left the dwelling to run an errand. Not smart and beyond irresponsible! It was at that crucial point in time when 31-year old Wu Juping, herself a mother, saw the dangerously positioned child, kicked off her high-heeled shoes, and ran to catch the child. She told the press, "I thought to myself, I should stretch my arms to her. Because I am right here, I must get her. Then I made it. I caught her in my arms."

The impact knocked Wu unconscious and sent her crumbling to the ground along with breaking her left arm. Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Zhejiang Hospital reported no damage to little Niu Niu's brain but that the girl's abdomen was swollen - a possible sign of some injury to organs.

It is always highly encouraging and greatly inspiring when a dangerous, or even a life-threatening, act of unselfishness and bravery is undertaken by one person to help or save another – especially when total strangers are involved. That was indeed the case here with this precious 2-year old and her quick-thinking and quick responding savior. But for some,  even this incredible physical rescue might leave some wondering what they would do or why anyone would put themselves in harm’s way for someone they do not even know? The general answer for that is seen in Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” The good that surfaces, especially in dire and dangerous moments, is because of that portion of good in every person because every person has that same portion of their Creator built into them at birth.

But this one short story of sacrifice and physical rescue contains both similarities and some contrasts, to exactly what God did for His entire created race.  Humanity is, unfortunately, fully fallen with a sin nature even at the moment of conception. Many then continue falling quite quickly and forcefully toward eternal judgement if not rescued by the unselfish and spectacular act of someone else. That “someone’, in this specific sphere, is the Son of God.

Unlike with Wu Juping, who was just in the right place at the right time, God planned man’s spiritual rescue from the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4-6) He knew from eternity past that a flawed humanity was destined to proceed in their eternal fall into judgement if their unjustified sin was not somehow cushioned and fully broken and forgiven. But this incomprehensible and spiritual rescue required a supernatural sacrifice. It was an act of redemption and saving that would make even the wonderful and heart-warming story of this brave Chinese mother pale in comparison. That is simply because this child, who was so brilliantly physically saved, still needs to someday be spiritually saved when old enough to understand the message of the god news of faith in her Savior.

Perhaps the best description of God’s solution to His fallen and sin-cursed race is revealed in Philippians chapter two. The Apostle Paul attempts to reveal there the depths of God’s love. He explains the sobering length Christ went to save any that trust Him to eliminate the unimaginable consequences of permanently rejecting Him in their lives.

Verses 5-10 record some of the most profound words in Scripture as they lay out the staggering extent of Christ’s attitude and actions to rescue sinners, all helplessly plunging toward eternal wrath from birth. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth.”

Without any doubt, the rather reckless grandmother who left a helpless toddler unattended will be haunted by her actions and will likely be answering serious questions from family members and authorities alike. But again, this cannot even be compared to the moment when each person stands before God to offer Him answers for the thoughts and actions done throughout their lives. Romans 14:12 states. “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” Beyond that, there is the chilling concept offered up in  Hebrews chapter ten – something that should also be seriously considered for those still remaining in a fallen spiritual state and outside God’s faith family. The writer warns,  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)  And without a doubt, man cannot comprehend at all what this word “fearful” actually represents as it relates to an eternity of ultimate separation from God.

But for those who have not yet had the awful and eternal fall of sin eliminated, the sacred and singular solution is provided in just a few short words from the imprisoned Paul and Silas to their frightened and desperate jailer in Acts 16:29-31. “Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. “And he brought them out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved’ So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved."

It is when this is done with sincerity, and from the heart, that an all-new creation in Christ is born. (2 Corinthians 5:17)  It is then when a lost and fallen sinner can be caught and raised up to new life and enjoy life’s ultimate priority and promise!

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)

Bill Breckenridge

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