Saturday, April 16, 2016

To Save a Life

Have you ever saved someone life?  Have you ever gone out of your way for the benefit of someone else?  To the point of being hurt? I can't help but think about the time when I nearly dropped my infant onto the concrete pavement entrance to Walmart.  Let me set the stage for you.  It was years ago, and he was about 6 months old.  I had him in arms because he wouldn't stay in the stroller.  I was walking toward the entrance, while my older son pushed the empty stroller, when all of a sudden my oldest pushes the stroller in front of me, and I trip over it.  As if in slow motion, I remember falling forward with baby in hands.  I stretched out my body as far out as I could, while simultaneously doing everything I could to tighten the grip I hand on the baby.  I landed flat on the ground, and with hands stretched out, I managed to still have the baby boy in hands.  You see the picture above? That was me.  Or so it seemed.

As I laid there flat on the ground, I could sense how tense and stiff my body felt, as I had purposefully stretched out every ligament and muscle to assure that I keep my baby from hitting the ground.  Someone took note of me, and removed the baby from my hands so that I could get back up.  The tension, which lead to soreness in my body, lasted for days.  I think I had a bruises on my arms.  But it was so worth it!  I mean it was either I suffered temporary pain, or my baby would have faced long term repercussions.  I'd like to think that I saved my son's life that day.

But enough about me.  There is something about saving someone's life.  Have you ever done something that changed someone's life course?  In this life with so many daily interactions and dealings, I'm positive there's been many times that my life was saved.  Though it's not easy to admit, years ago I wrote a suicide letter to my loved ones.  I was very very low.  And looking back, I can't really pinpoint what lead to this low point, just that I was depressed every day.  But I remember that as I got to the part of the letter, when I addressed my mother, I broke down.  And I couldn't get my words on the paper.  I couldn't fathom causing her that much pain.  She, of all people, didn't deserve it.  I mean she once almost lost her own life trying to save another.  She lost her sister as a teenager to drowning.  My mom jumped into deep waters to save her from drowning.  And in her failed attempt, almost lost her own life.  With all of that in mind, I couldn't put down on paper that sort of life's good-bye.  And with that, God intervened, and I began to walk back into my beautiful life and away from ugly depression.  I guess in a sense, my mom saved my life that day as well.

So how much does it take to save a life?  I know as I think about my little boy, now quickly becoming a man, I wish I could still dive in and save him from the bumps and bruises this life brings.  I wish I could cover his ears from the harshness and hardness of people in this world.  I wish I could keep him steady, as he walks the hard roads of this life.  I wish I could hold him in place, when life is at a whirlwind.  But I can't.  There are some things that we simply cannot spare others from.  Things that we cannot spare ourselves from because life is hard.

Last year on a trip to Mexico, I saw two little boys at an orphanage.  I watched from a short distance as they entertained each other, playing with some kind of game that consisted of what looked like bottle caps.  As I looked around their "home", I could not spot any other toys or things for them to have some fun with.  The hallways were empty and the walls were bare.  And I stared.   As they played, I contemplated. What was the purpose of my being there, other than to become aware of how they lived?  I wanted to take them home with me.  My thoughts raced within my mind, as I schemed on what it would take for me to give these boys a better life.  Maybe no one would notice if I snuck them out with me.  I'd give them a better life for sure.  I'd give them love and care, and I'd save their life.  And still that day, I walked away from that boy's home, empty-handed.  There wasn't much else that I could do than to bless the ministry with funds for the children to be able to have an outing.  And although it felt good to bless them this way, I felt broken that I couldn't do more.

So much for saving a life!  In my lifetime I've witnessed my share of  people needing to be saved.   The indigenous woman,  obviously abused, living off a landfill, without a name, just a face that I will never forget.  Or the little preschooler who took me into her orphanage bedroom to show me her dolls.  Then there's the man in the business suit, walking out of Wawa in his daily rush, too consumed within himself to notice that I smiled as I held the door for him.  He too, needed to be saved.  And although I think I've made small impacts, I always come back short-handed because there's only so much I can do.  Because there are some real needs in this life, that only a real savior can meet.

While I can give you encouragement, only God can strengthen you.  I can give you food, but only God truly satisfies.  I can lend a hand, but God will hold you in His.  I can sit and listen to you, but God is constantly near.  I can comfort you, but God brings a steady peace.  I can do a lot of things, and I plan to.  But God can do the impossible.  And so as I ponder on all the needs that seem to weigh heavy in my mind and heart today-- as I struggle with all of the burdens and cares of this world and how it affects those near and dear to me, I trust God as the savior.  The savior of the world.    And I plead with Him on your behalf.  "Please, Father God, save a  life today."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all who believe shall not perish, but have everlasting life."

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