Have you ever heard of the boiling frog experiment? It’s a 19-century experiment that purported to study the reaction of frogs to changes in water temperature. The premise of the experiment is that if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will jump out immediately. But if you put it in tepid water and gradually increase the water temperature to boiling, the frog fails to recognize the danger it’s in (essentially thinking that it’s enjoying a hot bath) and doesn’t try to jump out until it’s too late. Now, I don’t know the scientific basis (exactly why in the world were they studying how frogs react to hot water???) or the accuracy of the results, but the reason I brought it up is that sometimes I feel like that boiling frog.
I’m enjoying what I think is a hot bath, until I wake up and realize I’m actually in a big vat of boiling water. Like the time I was a kid and decided that our washing machine would make a great art easel. I started out with drawing a simple flower, but pretty soon my ‘artistic genes’ had taken over and the flower had turned into a garden. When I did come out of my creative haze and looked at the once pristine-white washing machine, I knew I was in BIG trouble. My attempts at scrubbing and cleaning only made matters worse and I was soon left with an ugly greenish-black mess. Some may have called it modern art, but I was pretty sure my parents wouldn’t. Luckily for me, my brother heard my panicked cries and came to the rescue. Being elder to me (and therefore much more experienced at getting out of trouble) he helped clean up my mess. I don’t remember how he did it, but I do remember that I didn’t get into any trouble with my parents. Phew!
Just like me, we all make messes- personal messes, financial messes, relational messes, or spiritual messes. And we all need rescuing. These messes happen because we live in a fallen world with flawed human natures. We are imperfect with an inclination towards evil more than good. We are self-destructive and stupid. We say and do things we know we shouldn’t. And this is without exception. Even the most put-together person you know has messed it up in thoughts and deeds. As Romans 8: 23 says, ‘For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.’
God looks at the messes in our lives and wants nothing more than to step in and rescue us. And what is our response? A lot of the times it is like the frog in the experiment. We essentially tell God, “No thank you. I’m fine. It is a little hot in here, but I’ll get used to it.”
Why do we do that?
If I’m honest, I do that when I feel like I don’t need rescuing and when I feel like I’m not worth rescuing. When the mess I’ve created is so bad that I feel I don’t deserve to be rescued. Have you ever been in a situation like that? Where you hate yourself and the choices you’ve made. The very choices that have created a mess so repugnant that you feel there’s no way God would want anything to do with you.
What would have happened if, instead of accepting my brothers help, I told him that I didn’t need his help as I was perfectly capable of handling my own mess and moreover, since I made this mess, I deserved to be in this position. That would have been an incredibly stupid and ungrateful thing to do and it would have landed me in all sorts of hot water with my parents.
Galatians 1:4 says, ‘Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.’ Do you see that? God planned to rescue us, and He fulfilled that plan through Jesus dying on the cross for us. This was not a plan the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit came up with after we messed up. Nope! He knew we would mess up and planned to clean up the mess before it even happened.
You see, Jesus wasn’t plan B.
As Pastor Jeff put it, God’s plan from before the creation of the world was to die for the sins of the world and to overcome death for the benefit of the world.
God loves to rescue us, even when we don’t deserve it.
Here’s the best part; God doesn’t rescue us only once. It’s not a one-time deal where you are allowed to mess up only once. If so, I would be in trouble because I, for one, am in constant need of rescuing! If you will let Him, He wants to walk with and help you through ALL your messes. He saves us continually so that we can become more and more like Him.
I’d like to end with this quote from Brennan Manning: “I've got good news, you're not as bad as you think you are. You're much worse. But you are the one Jesus loves."
Yes! Even if you are the most messed up, self-seeking, disobedient, and stupid human being on the planet, you are the one that Jesus loves! Don’t ask me why, but He does, and He wants to rescue you. The question is, will you let Him?
Betsy Sony is a stay-at-home mom who has the full-time job of looking after 4 beautiful girls. She came to the United States from India along with her husband Sony about 4 years ago and loves all things Skyline, reading, being outdoors, and experiencing new cultures and cuisines.