I recently read a fiction novel that could have been ripped from today’s headlines. In the story, a fire raged through a school cafeteria at lunchtime. Just prior to the fire, a volunteer mother on lunch duty released most of the students for recess, save for three girls. The girls were detained for bullying this woman’s only child. The bullied daughter fled to a restroom across from the kitchen moments before a gas explosion occurred. As fire erupted, the volunteer mother pointed her three charges towards an open door, which led outside to safety.
Risking injury, this mother raced through the halls to save her child, who would have perished, undiscovered by rescuers because of her obscure location.
Long story short – the mom saved her daughter and both of them escaped with minor injuries. Unbeknownst to her, however, one little girl, the chief instigator of the bullying trio, slipped back into the cafeteria unnoticed to retrieve her iPod. The girl was critically injured in the explosion and remained comatose for weeks after the incident.
Thinking she had done her duty by directing the three bullies to rescuers outside, the volunteer mother was shocked when she was later sued by the parents of the injured student for choosing to save her own child over the life of their child.
I pondered this story for days, imagining what I would do in that difficult situation. If my child or grandchild were in danger, would I rush to save them first or save others ahead of them? Would the “mother bear” instinct push most parents to selfishly save their own first and foremost? I pray God never tests me in this area.
Oddly enough, I think about this situation on a regular basis, as my son-in-law is a teacher in a public school. He is blessed to have a classroom directly across the hall from his preschool daughter’s classroom. With schools being targeted with harm so frequently in these turbulent times, many teachers and school employees could quite possibly be faced with impossible circumstances such as these.
With Easter just two days past – the reality of the death of Christ is an unparalleled example of sacrifice at the highest level. At any time, leading up to his “trial,” beating, crucifixion and death, Jesus possessed the power to stop the proceedings. In a blink, He could have called down a legion of angels for rescue (Matthew 26:53), yet Jesus willingly chose to die on the cross for me, for you … for the entire world.
Some days, I struggle to grasp the concept of such a sacrifice. I frequently feel unworthy of the love, grace and mercy Christ offers me. Scripture tells us that no one is worthy (Romans 3:10 & 23). In spite of that, Jesus still offered up his life in exchange for mankind.
If you are a Christ follower, I pray that the message of The Cross will be a daily reminder that in our brokenness and sin-filled lives, Jesus is our rescuer. Today, tomorrow and forever. If you DON’T know Jesus, He loves you already. You simply need to admit you need him, repent of your sinful life and accept him as your Lord, your Savior and your rescuer.