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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Importance of Real Gratitude

Several months ago, I saw a story about an 11-year-old boy who was caught in a crevasse in California. He had been playing on the beach with his friends, running and climbing on the coastal rocks, when he slipped and fell into a crack in one of the large rocks he was playing on. The harder he struggled, the deeper he slid down until he was wedged so tight that no one could pull him out. It had gotten so bad, that with every breath he took, he inched lower and tighter. He was literally dying from lack of oxygen when the rescuers got there. The rock was smothering him.

At first, his helpers did not seem to understand the situation, but soon realized that his breathing was so shallow, he was in and out of conciousness. Their efforts quickly became more animated when they realized the life and death struggle they were in. They worked for over an hour trying to pull him out, to no avail. Then, a firefighter had the idea to pour motor oil all over him, to try to lubricate the rock enough to allow them to pull him free. It worked.

What happened next will stay with me for the rest of my life. When the men pulled him up to the top, he kept reaching out and saying "Thank You, Thank You" over and over again. I have never seen gratitude like that in a person's eyes before. I was looking into the eyes of a soul who was on the brink of death, who was dying right in front of us, when suddenly he was pulled free to live, to breathe freely.

And right there, it hit me. That boy is all of us. That is exactly where where we are as unbelievers. I remember that suffocating feeling of being trapped. My hatred of others, my desire to break all the rules led me to the edge, and I fell in. We are all trapped by what we think is on that rock of temptation - esteem, all that money can buy, the self-worth that the taboo promises- only to find out afterward that we are slowly dying, we have failed to stay away from the edge. We slide down into the crevasse. We become more and more uncomfortable until we are barely alive. Death is near . . .

No one truly knows what gratitude is like the person who has been snatched from the grip of Death. Those of us who have been saved from Hell should always have that sense gratitude. The deeper you are, the more thankful you become when you think about what you have been saved from. I want to say "Thank You, Thank You" to my Savior. I am saved! Those of us who believe: We are saved!! We can breathe again. Thank You Jesus!

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2008

1 comment:

And she's the minister's wife? said...

Amen! I can totally relate. After the recent chemically induced stress test that brought me to the brink of a heart attack, I know what it is to not be able to breathe. The crushing weight that I felt on my chest, and then the blessed relief when I could finally breathe again. What a feeling of glorious freedom! Life giving breath. Thank God, for the spiritual breath he breathes upon us every day.