As you are stuck in this mud pit of 2020, is Jesus your cheerleader or savior? What do I mean by that, you ask? Imagine this:
You’re going to a surprise party for a good friend who lives close by. You are giddy with excitement. It rained the day before, but you’re running late so you take a shortcut through a field. Half-way across the field you shiver when your left foot is plunged into the mud as your shoe stays behind. You tug at your shoe while still balancing the gift for the party.
One last pull frees your shoe, sends the gift flying and lands your backside in the mud. You put your shoe back on and push yourself up using your one mud-covered hand. You check your watch and realize the party starts in 15 minutes. You move to grab the gift, but realize the mud has a firm grip on your right foot now. With no other choice, you firmly grip your right leg with both hands and, just as your foot comes free, you topple over on your left side. Your shoulder aches from the rock you hit. You shiver as the water soaks your clothes. While pushing yourself up you realize you aren’t going to make the party.
Mud stains your clothes as you shiver. Disappointment weighs you down. You are exhausted from the effort to free yourself from the mud’s grip. As you sit there in the middle of the mud field it begins to rain again.
Isn’t that what 2020 has felt like? This year started out with such hope and promise and yet here we are stuck in the muck and mire of a pandemic, racial and political tension.
Someone on the far edge of the field noticed you’re stuck. They ask if you are okay and if you need help. You think “of course I do,” but say “I’m okay.” This friend encourages you to keep at it. While you move a few more feet toward this friend, you’re still soaked and shivering. The effort becomes too great and you sit again. The party’s started and you’re stuck. While you rest your head on your now muddy hands, your body shakes as tears flow, clearing paths down your mud-streaked cheeks.
Between sobs you hear a sound, shlup, shlup, shlup. You stop crying to listen as the shlup, shlup, shlup comes closer. You look up to see someone approaching. You don’t recognize them.
This person approaches close enough to see your shivering, tear-streaked, muddy mess. This person stops and asks, “Can I help you?” Do you accept? You’ve already tried unsuccessfully to get out on your own. Your desire for rescue outweighs the discomfort of asking for help. You accept.
Immediately they begin to work. They give you a hand up and place a warm, dry blanket around you. You walk arm in arm together out of the mud field into their house. They bring you to a sink, fill it with warm water, get a washcloth and soap and begin to wash you. The touch is gentle and tender. They supply clean clothes and dinner for you. You rest, knowing you are cared for and loved.
Is Jesus your cheerleader or Savior?
Jesus as cheerleader is like the friend at the edge of the mud field encouraging you to go to them. Do you believe Jesus is your cheerleader, encouraging you and inspiring you on through the mud field of life in 2020?
Jesus as Savior is like the friend who shlepped out into the mud field, pulled you up, helped you to their house, cleaned you up, fed and clothed you.
Jesus came down into this mud field of a world to rescue you. To help you up and out of where you are stuck. He came down as a baby, which we celebrate at Christmas. Emmanuel, God with us. Not God encouraging us to come to Him. God with us.
Questions to ponder:
If Jesus doesn’t meet you in the muck and mire of life here on earth, what is the point of faith?
If he is your cheerleader only, how will you be rescued from the mud field?
Is Jesus your cheerleader or Savior?