Chris Greer, an MDiv student at Fuller California Coast, tells of a backpacking trip and an unexpected source of deliverance.
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” --1 Timothy 1:15
It was the best apple I’d ever tasted.
Have you ever been in need of something—so in need of something that you were intently focused on it, completely impatient for it, and utterly desperate without it?
That’s how I felt on my birthday in April 2009. My younger brother and I were in the final miles of a three-day backpacking trip on the Channel Islands. Beautiful views. Amazing weather. Fantastic fellowship. There was only one problem. Water. I failed to bring enough. I had grossly underestimated the impact of the temperatures and the exposure in this coastal island ecosystem. And now, in the final miles, we were paying for it. We had long been out of water—and long been in need of it.
We were intently focused on it, completely impatient for it, and becoming desperate without it.
The only thing in our packs holding any moisture at all were a couple of apples. Not exactly the two gallons of water I was hallucinating about. But two long miles from the dock where our boat would be waiting, we reached for those two small pieces of fruit, and to our surprise, they exploded with the moisture and energy we needed to trek the final two miles. I’ve never thought of apples the same way again.
This Christmas season, and every Christmas season, is a reminder of the unexpected deliverance God provides for the desperate spot we find ourselves in. The world is poor and needy and “the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains” (Romans 8:22), desperate for its redemption. And on that Christmas night the thirst was quenched, the need was met, the deliverer arrived. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Not unlike the apple in our packs—an unexpected source of great relief—Jesus arrives in the unexpected form of a baby, bringing unexpected life to a world in desperate need.
Jesus said, “Those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty” (John 4:14).
May God provide for you in the most unexpected ways this Christmas season. And may we never forget that our greatest need has already been met in Christ.