Tuesday, January 10, 2017

CP 272 Ask not for whom the siren sounds...

CrossPurposes 272
Ask not for whom the siren sounds…
Early in November we were at Foster, on the mid-north Coast of NSW, when at 3.00am in the morning I heard the unmistakeable siren of an ambulance… e-aw, e-aw, e-aw, e-aw, e-aw… On and on it went. I remember thinking, ‘I hope the person that is for will be OK.’ Still it kept on…e-aw, e-aw, e-aw… It struck me as strange that it was getting neither closer nor further away. Then it dawned on me that it was coming from inside me. And suddenly I knew what it was. My defibrillator alarm had gone off! Some problem in the implanted mechanism.
As soon as possible in the morning I called the office of my heart specialist in Sydney to make an appointment. ‘Impossible,’ the voice said. ‘No spaces any time soon. Try the pacemaker clinic at the Public Hospital’. I was told to come in ASAP, as in right now! Well we couldn’t do it because Forster is perhaps 350km from Sydney, and we had the caravan as well. ‘Then call the pacemaker clinic at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.’ We did. Again we were advised to get there pronto. We did. The technician checked the device and announced that my battery was dead. ‘You need to get it replaced ASAP.’ He called in a heart surgeon. Who insisted it should be done straightaway.
Long story short… It was replaced in Sydney a week later. Mind you, that was after the specialist in Newcastle advised me that, ‘If you have a heart issue before it is replaced you will die! All charming comfortable stuff. Anyway the battery in the new device will last me around eleven years, compared to the old one which lasted eight. Besides making a good tale, I have a reason for sharing this.
I was in trouble and I needed help. Not just from anyone, but someone uniquely qualified to deal with it. I had such help in the technician and the surgeon. Knew the problem, knew what I needed and could do what was required. Then did it.
I was reminded at the time of an occasion in 2001 when we were exploring the Kimberley region in NW West Australia. On the road across the Prince Edward River we were headed toward Mitchell Falls. The Land Cruiser suddenly lurched left and became unsteerable. Stopped, got out to look, and saw the front left wheel at an angle it should not have been, with grease oozing out of a sort-of-round-thing in disturbing quantities. In trouble, needing help, about 500km from the nearest mechanic at Kununurra. What to do? Got on the CB radio and got hold of brother Leon who was 5kms ahead of us. He owns Toyota Ceduna! Was there in 10 minutes, knew what was wrong, knew what he could do, and effected stopgap repairs within an hour. Amazing.
Both these events and their outcome are like parables of the coming of Jesus Christ into a world of mess, chaos, disrepair, brokenness and sin. He came to be Immanuel – God with us. Sounds like exactly what we need(ed). Which Christian does not know that Jesus died for our sin? I wonder though, if we think much about exactly why and how Jesus was the perfect unblemished Lamb who could go to the cross for us and be an acceptable sacrifice in the Father’s eyes. Has it ever occurred to you that if Jesus had offered himself as a sacrificial lamb when he was just one year-old he would not have been an acceptable sacrifice? Does that thought trouble you? It should, in a good way.
The writer of the great testimony we know as “Hebrews” has an intriguing insight in chapter 2. ‘It was fitting that God… should make the author of salvation perfect through suffering’. (v 10) In v17 he adds that, ‘he had to be made like his brothers in every way…’ Hebrews 5:8 adds, ‘Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered, and once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation…’
Get that? Jesus wasn’t automatically ‘fit’ to be our Messiah by virtue of being born. He had to be made fit, made perfect. Bottom line? His suitability had to be tested under extreme pressure. Did he, at any point under attack by the devil, by principalities and powers, or by human opponents, did he ever deviate from godly humility and meekness? Did you ever see him turn his back on those who mourned or who were broken in spirit. Was he utterly faithful to his call to hunger and thirst only for godly righteousness? Can you locate a single instance where he didn’t bother to be merciful or shunned the call to be a peacemaker? Was his whole life marked by ‘doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with his God. No, You can find no such failure regardless of whichever way the scripture holds out truth in behaviour. Always there for the ‘bruised reeds’ and ‘smouldering wicks.’ He was tested, yes. But without sin. Remained righteous regardless of pressure. Honoured his Father above all things, and loved even unto death… Tested under the very worst hell could throw at him. That is how he was uniquely qualified to be our Saviour and Messiah. Just what we needed.
Here is the truth. In his life on earth, before the Cross, Jesus lived the righteousness without which no one can see the Lord. His death for the forgiveness of our sin enabled righteousness to be bestowed as the only necessary requirement for life with the Father. It is given to all who call on Jesus’ name. And that is exactly what we needed from Jesus Christ, Immanuel – ‘God with us.’ This is all gift. So if you hear that siren sound over some issue or other in your life, remember that he’s got you covered.
Bless you.



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