Magazine Leader – October 2010

Is God just the Fifth emergency service?

It was all going so much better by the Monday. Then it happened. “The car that had never let us down before” (= TCTHNLUDB), exhaled a deep sigh. I thought it was a burst tyre until I realised that all power had been lost as I steered into a passing place. TCTHNLUDB was unresponsive. The ignition could not restart the engine. But all was not lost. Even though we were in TCTHNLUDB that had clearly ground to a halt we were members of the fourth emergency service (aka the Automobile Association). Our sticker on the window of TCTNLUDB boasted a decade or more of membership. They were only a phone call away. Or so it seemed.

The thing about mobile phones is that they are really useful in an emergency such as the breakdown of TCTHNLUDB. But, they have to be within range of the mast to connect to the network. Two adults with two phones on two different networks were unable to contact anyone. Two children stayed with grandma while I went in search of a signal. From inside TCTHNLUDB the B-road seemed fairly quiet. Outside TCTHNLUDB the B-road was really very dangerous. I sent an arrow prayer to God: far easier than contacting the AA under the circumstances.

I later arrived at the gateway of a smallholding. There still wasn’t a mobile phone signal. Having walked to the top of their steep drive there was still no mobile phone signal. I swallowed my pride and rang the doorbell. The owner was very helpful: she sympathised about TCTHNLUDB. She also understood about the mobile networks: they’d changed to the only provider that worked in the area. We successfully contacted the fourth emergency service. An hour later we and TCTHNLUDB were rescued. At the end of the week we and TCTHNLUDB were relayed home.

Why tell you this? I want to draw a simple spiritual lesson based on a Bible verse: ‘For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins’ (Colossians 1v13-14). Membership of the body of Christ matters, for knowing Jesus Christ as our rescuer is significant for eternity. Our earthly bodies are imperfect and as good as dead just like TCTHNLUDB that abruptly gave up on us. We can only become members of Christ’s body (of disciples), by putting our faith in what he has done for us on the cross. This restores us to God and makes us life members of his people. Only Jesus is able to “rescue” us from sin, death and judgment. He alone is able to “relay” us to our heavenly home. We are incapable of doing this ourselves. We have to trust entirely in what he had done for us.

The Lord Jesus is not the fifth emergency service. He is the only one! You may diligently join the 4th emergency service each year. But have you taken seriously your need to become a member of Christ’s body? We welcome all who long to know Jesus.

Paul Kingman.

October Magazine