Car Chases & God’s Grace

Why do we watch high speed car chases? 

I’m not talking about those in the movies, though they are exciting in and of themselves. No, I’m referring to the helicopter or dash-cam views of police pursuits on the city streets in real time.  

It seems like every week you see another chase play out on national media.  Just last week there was a wrecked RV leading police through Los Angeles, and what got everyone watching was the fact that there were two dogs in the RV – and yes, both are fine.

Are we drawn to this because we want to see fugitives come to justice? 

Is there a darker side of us waiting for the fiery crash that may come at the end? 

Is this now our Coliseum, where we cheer and boo the gladiators in the arena, and watch until all is settled?

Maybe these events speak to our inner “fight or flight” instinct, and we’re watching to learn what we already know – running from your problems never works.

As I was pondering our obsession with chases this morning, I read from Isaiah 30 in my M’Cheyne Bible Reading plan.  Here, God is speaking to the people of Jerusalem though the prophet, warning them of the coming judgment for their rebellion, and telling them not to go to Egypt in order to escape judgment, thereby “adding sin to sin” and face greater ruin. The people were ready to fly to Egypt, to ride swiftly from the hand of God. God’s warning was clear, “your pursuers will be swift. A thousand shall flee at the threat of one…” 

Reading this is like watching the chase unfold. You say to the screen, “Don’t run!” but you know they’re going to anyway.

Still, in this midst of the warning, God extends a gracious promise  Isaiah 30 is beautiful in its promise. Even in the threat of coming judgment, God calls to His people, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength (Isa 30:15).”  Turn to me,  God is saying, find your rest, your salvation, and strength in me.  

From verse 19 on, the remainder of the chapter is God’s promise of restoration:

  • God will be gracious to the sound of your cry
  • Though the Lord gives the bread of adversity, your Teacher will not hide himself anymore
  • Your ears will hear him speak to you, telling you which way to go
  • You will turn from your idols
  • He will give rain for the seed, and bread, and produce, and livestock
  • There will be brooks flowing with water
  • The Lord will bind up the brokenness of His people and heal their wounds
  • You will have a song, and gladness of heart
  • The Lord will cause His voice to be heard
  • The enemies of God’s people will tremble before Him.

No one likes to see the lights in the rear-view mirror, or hear the siren calling them to pull over. Neither do we like the discipline of the Lord when we have erred. But with our Father’s discipline, there is always the promise of rich and redeeming grace, a promise confirmed for us in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Trust in His gracious promises, and know that resting in Him you will shall be saved.

From the Pastor’s Desk:

Here are some of the things I’ve been reading this week that I’d thought I’d share:

Don’t Be a Lazy Pastor: Lately I’ve been sharing articles on what the Pastor does, and how you can pray for your Pastor. Here’s another, from Desiring God, on the plague of the lazy Pastor.

PreachersNSneakers: Speaking about Pastor’s, there’s apparently a trend among some Pastor’s of wearing REALLY expensive shoes, clothes, or jewelry. Here’s an article about the trend – and just to clarify – my suits are all over 10 years old, and my most expensive shoes are the Brooks I run in.  I’m not saying I’m above the cultural trappings, but fashion is not mine.  Something I read a while ago, however, did lead me to stop wearing a preachers robe. One of the old Puritans stated that anything that separates you from you congregation, keeps you from your congregation.  If what your wearing, or the house your living in, or the car the pastor is driving is an extravagant leap from what the people of the congregation would have, there’s a disconnection taking place.

Can A Christian Lose their Salvation:  Finally, here’s an article by R.C. Sproul on the perennial question about one’s security in salvation.

Jesus is Everything to Me

“Christ is all in all.”
(Col 3:11)

In Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices I came upon the following:

We have all things in Christ.  Christ is all things to a Christian.  If we are sick, Jesus is a physician.  If we thirst, Jesus is a fountain.  If our sins trouble us, Jesus is our righteousness.  If we stand in need of help, Jesus is mighty to save.  If we fear death, Jesus is life.  If we are in darkness, Jesus is light.  If we are weak, Jesus is strength. If we are in poverty, Jesus is plenty.  If we desire heaven, Jesus is the way.  The soul cannot say, “this I would have, and that I would have.”  But having, Jesus, he has all he needs – eminently, perfectly, eternally.

I read this, and I say, “Amen.”  But the more I think about it, I wonder, “Is this really the case for Christians today?  Is this true even of me?”

Think about it:

    • When we’re sick, we call the doctor.
    • When we’ve got aches and pains, we reach for the aspirin.
    • When we are thirsty, we have a class of water.
    • When our conscience is troubled, we find a stronger drink, a better pill, a listening ear, a credit card to buy back our happiness.
    • When we need help, when we are afraid for our own future, we put our trust in the power of government, our stockpile of gold, the wisdom of man.
    • When we are weak, we put on a mask of strength.

How often do we turn to Jesus?  When do we come to him as our “all in all”?

For many of us, we may talk about the greatness of knowing Jesus, when in reality Jesus is just one more “thing” we’ve added to our already crowded life.  It’s not that we believe in Jesus and all the other things in life; rather, it’s a matter of all the other things in life, with just a little Jesus added in.

Is Jesus at the center of your life?  Would you be satisfied if you lost everything else, but still had Jesus?  Would you be content with Him and nothing else?

    • If you lost your home, your car, your employment, but still had Jesus, would you feel safe and secure?
    • If, like Job, you lost your family, your health, your friends, but you still had Jesus, would you look to heaven confident in God’s provision and love?
    • If, because of the convictions of your faith, you lost your status in the community, were ridiculed, scorned, and even attacked because of your beliefs, but still had Jesus, would you rejoice in your sufferings as did the saints of old?

Upon what does your faith, your contentment, your hope in life depend?  Upon Christ alone, or upon Christ plus X?

Let me end with one more quote from Brooks:

Though honor is not, and riches are not, and health is not, and friends are not – it is enough that Christ is, that he reigns, conquers, and triumphs.  Christ is the pot of manna, the cruse of oil, a bottomless ocean of all comfort, contentment, and satisfaction.  He who has him lacks nothing: he who lacks him enjoys nothing.  In having nothing I have all things, because I have Christ; having therefore all things in him, I seek no other reward, for his is all in all.

SDG