Summary: A message of hope centred around the coming of the Christ child
Romans 8:18-27 PLUNGING TO MURKY EARTH
A family was out vacationing at the lake one summer. Dad had been puttering out by the boat house. Two of his sons, a 12-year old and a 3-year old were down playing along the dock. The 12 year old was supposed to be watching his little brother, but he got distracted. The 3 year old, little Billy, thought that would be a good time to check out the shiny aluminum fishing boat tied up at the end of the dock. So he went to the dock and put one foot on the boat, and one foot on the dock. He lost his balance and fell into the water, which was about 5 or 6 ft deep.
The splash alerted the 12-yr old who let out a piercing scream. Dad came running from the boat house, jumped into the water, swam down, but unable to see anything, came up for air. Sick with panic, he went right back down into the murky water, and began to feel everywhere around the bottom. He couldn’t feel anything. Finally, on his way up, he felt little Billy’s arms locked in a death grip on one of the posts of the dock, about 4 ft under water. Prying the boy’s fingers loose, they burst up together through the surface to fill their lungs with life-giving air.
Finally when the adrenaline had stopped surging, and nerves had calmed down a little bit, the father asked his son, “What on earth were you doing down there hanging onto the post so far under the water? And little Billy’s answer was a classic, laced with the wisdom only a toddler could give. He said, "I was just waiting for you, Dad. Just waiting for you."
Friends, this month we celebrate that 2000 yrs ago, the God of the universe left the glory and the splendour of Heaven, a place where there was no pain and no sickness, no accidents, no hurt, and no death. He plunged into this dark, murky world on a rescue mission: a rescue mission for all who are drowning, a rescue mission for all who are barely hanging on, a rescue mission for all who are lost in the darkness.
Have you, like Billy, been waiting for Him to rescue you? But what is it that you are hanging onto so tightly that He has to pry your fingers loose?
There are many wonderful things on this Earth that capture our hearts and our minds, and some, not so wonderful. Some people put their trust in government; “The right government is the answer to all our ills.” Others rely on friends and family to help them through the tough times. Some are confident in themselves; their jobs, their skills, their investments. The only trouble with all these answers is that they don’t work.
When’s the last time a government came through for the people? They often make minor adjustments to look good, especially near election time, but it seems most of them are in power for only one reason—to look out for themselves. That’s why we need to keep remembering them in our prayers, asking God to guide them. No. Government isn’t the answer.
Family and friends are wonderful encouragers and supporters—sometimes. But sometimes, they too, are in deep trouble, usually when you need them most. With enough motivation, or enough duress, brothers have been known to betray brothers, or sisters, or mothers, or fathers. The Bible talks about a time that’s coming when people will think they’re doing God a favour by turning in their Christian family members. (Mk 13:12)
We have had friends at the top of the heap, CEO’s of their companies for over thirty years, and in a moment, they were unemployed. Oh, yes, they got a good severance package, but they weren’t ready to retire. They couldn’t afford to. They had lived a lavish lifestyle, and spent all they made. Now, at fifty plus, they needed work, but nobody hires someone fifty plus—especially not for the kind of money they were used to.
The smart ones have invested wisely, and have a good nest-egg tucked away. But markets vary, radically at times, and the economy fluctuates with them. We were in Mexico over Christmas one year. We went to a bank machine to get some money, and, when Amy saw the pile of pesos come out, she said, “We must be rich!” Well, we had a lot of pesos, but we were far from rich. I believe it was 350,000. pesos to rent a Volkswagen for a week—not that we would dare to drive down there! The day after we left, they devalued their currency one thousand times. A 1000 peso bill was worth only one peso the moment the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1991. Millionaires became paupers overnight, much like the stock market crash of 1929.