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Posts Tagged ‘drowning’

Acts 16:30
He [the jailer] then brought them [Paul & Silas] out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners could have escaped when the “earthquake” came, their prison doors opened, and their chains came loose. The jailer was about to commit suicide when Paul called out to stop him. Why was the jailer about to fall on his sword? He knew, like the guards who were killed when Peter miraculously escaped, that he would be flogged and probably killed. He feared for his own life.

I believe the jailer was asking about being saved from his fate at the hands of the magistrates. He did not expect the answer to be “faith in Christ Jesus.”

I used to dislike this question, “Are you saved?” I’d heard too many people answer, “saved from what?” And then the typical “Christian” response was “saved from eternal damnation… hell, fire & brimstone.” But really, if a person doesn’t believe or know about the Christ, is he or she going to be concerned about hell?

No, I believe a person who is truly ready to be “saved” will know what that word means in his/her own life. There will be no need for explanation. In fact, like the jailer, the person may be looking for a solution. It could be a need for salvation from physical illness or anticipated physical harm, or a crushing emotional situation, or a dire mistake that might place the person in jail, or a relationship that has gone bad, or futility or despair or fear… any of these will bring a person to the brink of struggle and need.

There is no point throwing a life preserver to someone who’s not in the water. Sometimes a person needs to be drowning before he/she will ask for help. Sometimes a person knows he/she can’t swim and asks for help right away. Another person, who knows how to swim, will try to swim to shore first, but then grow very tired and weak before asking for help. Does it matter when the moment comes?

I imagine that Jesus knew and recognized those “saving” moments in the people he touched. As followers of Christ, we must learn to recognize and respond to the signals. It is part of the helping profession to offer assistance but no one usually accepts help until he/she is ready.

In the meantime, what is my role? Walk and love authentically among the people. Be available and ready to help. Tell my story. Be in the moment. Go to the drowning places. There’s no point walking around with a life preserver if we never go near the water.

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