Imagine a little girl, 8 yrs. old, swimming at the beach and suddenly she goes underwater. She’s drowning. A lifeguard runs to save her. He pulls her little body out of the water, rushes her back to shore and gives her CPR. She chokes and sputters and starts to breathe. He’s relieved and the crowd around him cheers. He’s done his job, he’s a hero. He hands her over to her family and after a little applause, high fives and fist pumps from the crowd he goes about his business.
Now imagine that same little girl swimming, she goes under water and her father realizes that she’s missing. He dives into the water frantically searching for her, screaming her name. He looks under the water and sees her, he pulls her limp-lifeless body up into his arms and races to shore. He instinctively breathes into her tiny lungs and she spews out water and takes a breath. Overcome with emotion, he pulls her to his pounding chest. He embraces her, kisses her and wipes the hair from her face.
I think that he could not hold her close enough in that moment. He would envelope her in his love and never ever want to let her out of his sight again.
He’s not a hero, he’s her father. He didn’t rescue her because it was his job, he snatched her back from the clutches of death because he loves her. She is his child and he does not want to lose her.
The lifeguard represents who Jesus is when we make a simple confession to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior and then dutifully attend church and live a good little life. He’s like a lifeguard that rescues us but that doesn’t mean that we live in His love or that His love changes us.
But the Father, represents our God…he rescued her because of his love for her. The Dad represents the love that compelled Jesus to the cross for us.
Knowing God as our Father, believing that the Bible is a letter of love to us and not a list of rules, this is what makes the difference and takes us from knowing him as our hero to our Father.