“Don’t worry”, said Billy, “Jesus is a fireman, he can help.”
Having just read in our family devotions of God helping his people back in Nehemiah’s time, we were talking about when we have had to ask for help. In a wonderful fusion between imagination and reality, Billy had put Jesus in the key help-giving, rescue-offering role. Fireman Sam had become Fireman Jesus, and the disaster that Billy assumed I was referencing could be quickly averted by Jesus.
Rescues are a frequent occurrence in our house. There’s always a spaceship in peril in a bedroom, or a fire raging on the sofa, or a police officer needed as a criminal gets away through the garden. Thankfully, we have astronauts, firefighters and two members of the police force always ready to don the garb, and do the rescue.
It’s been a joy to be hosting a ‘backyard bible study’ in our garden over the last few weeks. In person is a treat, and it’s been precious times gathered together around God’s word. We’ve been studying Isaiah, and particularly dwelling on the Servant and God’s ultimate rescue plan for the people He loves. Again and again, we’ve been reminded that the glorious salvation and future promised throughout the book are only possible because of Jesus’ death on the cross. As our need for that rescue, and for this servant king, has become clearer, we’ve been growing in our trust in the cross. The question all the way through has been how all that we’re reading helps us run to the cross more, and then – from the other side – what are we tempted to trust in, and run towards, instead.
Billy’s quick assurance that Jesus is a fireman places him, in a child’s thinking, firmly in the go-to position. He’s the ultimate rescuer, and so why wouldn’t he be a fireman? And as the one who rescues, of course we can turn to him in every eventuality – even in a fire.
Following Billy’s logic, why wouldn’t I run to Jesus and the cross every time? His rescue is the one I need above all else, and his death on the cross gives me life now and in the New Creation. While it seems simple when put like this, I find other ‘rescues’ persuade me in their direction far too easily. My hope comes to rest in the possibility of a coronavirus vaccine; or travel restrictions between the US and the UK being lifted; or enough 10ofThose books being sold; or the happiness of my children, or the strength of my marriage. Good things, but not the fundamental rescue we find at the cross.
I’m praying, as we mull over Isaiah’s deep and relevant words, that I would run to the cross first, finding peace and security there, before chasing after anything else.