Friday, March 30, 2007

The Jaws of Life

Two of my deputies and a 17-year-old explorer survived a horrific collision, today. Both units were responding to a "back-up" request from another deputy, when the collision occurred.

Firefighters had to use the "Jaws of Life" to extricate the deputy who was trapped in the patrol car pictured in the foreground. The "Jaws of Life," which is actually a brand name, is the nickname given to several types of piston-rod hydraulic tools. These tools include cutters, spreaders, and rams. The most common use of these tools is to pry open badly damaged vehicles, in which victims are trapped.

One deputy remains hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. All three feel very fortunate to be alive. God's common grace covered the three survivors.

I spent the afternoon at the hospital, along with dozens of deputies, family members, and friends. I look forward to opportunities in the coming days, weeks, and months to minister to my wounded brethren.

Times such as these cause members of the law enforcement family to take stock of their own lives and consider their own mortality. I could see the looks of introspection on some of my law enforcement brethren's faces--despite their best efforts to hide behind the hardened exterior of a deputy sheriff.

All you have to do is look at the photo to realize that the end result of this collision could have been much different, even tragic. But I would like you to do more than simply look at the photo and say, "Wow."

Look at the photo, again. However, look at the photo with the following Scriptures in mind.

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.' You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away" (James 4:13-14).

"Behold, Thou hast made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight, surely every man at his best is a mere breath" (Psalm 39:5).

"Man is like a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow" (Psalm 144:4).

"And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

"And He said to me, 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death'" (Revelation 21:7-8).

Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

The ultimate statistic: 10 out of 10 people die. The truth: No one is promised tomorrow. The reality: No one knows the exact moment of their death. Everyone of us is but a blink of an eye away from finding ourselves a casualty in a scene like the one depicted in the photo.

The big question: Are you ready?

If you stumbled onto this blog, or if someone has sent you this article, and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, what you may not realize is that you are already in a scene similar to that which is depicted in the photo. You may not be trapped in the twisted wreckage of a vehicle damaged beyond repair, but you are most certainly trapped--your life hanging in the balance.

You are trapped by your sin. No matter how much or how sincerely you believe you do not need to be rescued, no matter how much you deny your present spiritual condition, you are trapped by your sin. Try as you might to free yourself through your good deeds, self-righteousness, religion, or denial of the truth, you remain trapped. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Whenever I arrived first at the scene of a major traffic accident, my counsel to anyone trapped in a vehicle was, "Be still. Help is on the way." I say the same to you, now. Please be still and allow the "Jaws of Life"--in this case, the Law of God (The Ten Commandments)--to pry open your heart so that the Rescuer can save you.

Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything, regardless of the value? Have you ever taken God's name in vain--using the name of the God who gave you life as a filthy, curse word or to express excitement or disgust? Have you ever looked at someone with lust, thus committing adultery in your heart? Have you ever hated someone, thus committing murder in your heart? If so, then by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterous, murderer at heart.

If you were to die today and stand before the holy, righteous God and Judge, He would find you guilty of breaking His Law. Finding you guilty, because He is good, God would sentence you to eternity in hell, as the just punishment for your sins against Him.

If this concerns you, then the "Jaws of Life" has done its job, having pried open your heart, making your rescue possible. And the only one who can rescue you is Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believers in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6, 8).

God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ--fully God, while fully man. He lived a perfect, sinless life. He died a horrible, bloody death on the cross, taking upon Himself the punishment you rightly deserve for your many sins against God. He paid the penalty you should pay--and will pay if He doesn't save you. God the Father poured out His wrath upon God the Son, allowing His only Son to be crushed under the weight of the Father's wrath, because of your sin. God is so very loving and good that He allowed this to happen to His Son so that you might be saved from His wrath and judgment.

Three days later, God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus, therefore, defeated death. He is alive today and forevermore. He is the eternal King of kings and Lord of Lords.

So, what is required of you? Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

You must repent. You must turn away from and forsake your sin. You must humble yourself and seek God's forgiveness. You must, by faith, put your trust and your faith in Jesus Christ alone to save you. "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Cry out to Him now. Confess your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved . . . For whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:9, 13). "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is not other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

Take one more look at the photo. What will you do? And where will you spend eternity?

1 comment:

ProSeThoughts said...

I went to TN last week and on the way up through Mcdonough, GA, traffic was stopped on I-75 northbound. They were routing all traffic off the expressway. I knew it had to be bad whatever it was. On the route around I-75, traffic was stopped as we waited to get back on I-75 a ways up where we directed to get off the expressway. I was stunned at what I saw. Two tow trucks were taking two cars along the route of stopped cars. The tow trucks didn't cover the cars. Time stood still. The first car was a sheriff deputy's car and you could tell where he sat by the stains in the driver's seat. I don't remember the second car because I couldn't take my eyes off the patrol car. I can't get the image out of my mind, and I wanted to put a face to deputy, so I found him on the Internet. I've cried because of the image. I wish they would have covered the car. It made time stand still to think he was driving on his job one minute, and the next he was gone. I look at the photo you have on your site and it's hard to think we are just a vapor.