Anyone who has spent time with toddlers has likely had to rescue one from drowning at some point, especially if that toddler happens to have an exceptionally big head.
David and I enjoyed over a decade of parenting particularly large-headed toddlers that could be counted on to launch headlong into any pool within two minutes of arrival. This was, as you can imagine, most relaxing for everyone poolside.
What I recall from the fog and terror of those years was that three of our children were appropriately grateful after being rescued from their certain drowning death, while one was always inappropriately furious. The picture posted is of the aforementioned ungrateful and furious child. It was taken directly after he was unwillingly rescued (again) from the bottom of the pool.
This third son of mine did not ever like to be saved or helped, especially from territorial dogs, incensed older brothers, or deadly drowning. This naturally made him a special joy to parent in the summertime, or outside, or really at all. He took it as a personal failure – an affront – when he wasn’t allowed to die trying to save himself.
“For once we were foolish and stubborn and disobedient. But when the kindness of God appeared, he saved us. Not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.” (Titus 3)
During Holy Week we remember the kindness of a just God who appeared to save a drowning world that really didn’t want to be helped. Even as water filled our collective lungs; even as we sank down; surely we would have died trying to save ourselves from ourselves. We didn’t know our condition would lead to being swallowed up, dragged beneath, and buried in death.
“I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD…” (Isaiah 63)
But the kindness of God didn’t appear only to stand on deck and stretch out his mighty arm to snatch the world from certain death. The kindness of God appeared as a the Son of man with his own limited lungs and heartbeat; a divine and holy man who would offer himself to be swallowed up and dragged underneath by death so we might live.
Heavenly Father, give us eyes to see your loving-kindness. You sent your own divine likeness into the world, knowing he would suffer and drown in the terrible depths of all our sin. In your great kindness you offered up your most beloved and holy one, that we might also be called your beloved and holy sons and daughters.
Jesus, thank you for your entered in to our true distress while we were still so stubborn and lost. You could have called down the angels to pull you out from the depths. But instead you gave up your own spirit to God – you breathed your last – so we would have your Spirit with us forever. Thank you, Jesus, for doing for us what we couldn’t ever do for ourselves.
Holy Spirit, thank you for showing us the many kindnesses of God through your world, your Word, and your church. Thank you for your light in the dark and your comfort in our deep. Flood our hearts with renewed hope and joy in our salvation.
Peace to you today, friends. And may our lives be marked by an appropriate thankfulness, kindness, and humility this Easter.