My Grace-Full Life

7.29.20 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Sacrificial Love

TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32 ESV)

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Years ago, I read this story. Though the validity hasn’t been verified and is assumed to be a piece of inspirational fiction (credited to several authors), it’s still a powerful tale:

•••

After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor once again slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit, and gave a very brief introduction of his childhood friend. With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit to speak, “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean.”

The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. He continued, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’ he threw the line to his son’s friend.”

“By the time he pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beyond the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

By this time, the two teenagers were sitting straighter in the pew, waiting for the next words to come out of the old man’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son. How great is the love of God that He should do the same for us.” With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.

Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side. “That was a nice story,” politely started one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, and he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that THAT story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up His son for me. You see . . . I was the son’s friend.”

•••

I’ve read another variation of the story where the old man speaking was the father, and the pastor of the church was the saved friend.

For some reason, after not thinking about it for years, this story has been on my mind for days. So I wanted to share it because truth or fiction, it’s a story that makes the reader wonder what he or she would do if they were the parent faced with so agonizing a choice.

When we think of our Heavenly Father sacrificing His own Son so we could be saved, we should be overwhelmed with humility and gratitude. Yet, we tend to take God’s sacrifice for granted. And there are those who will absolutely spit in the face of so priceless a gift…

Today, as you pray, ponder the wonder of that kind of sacrificial and unselfish love that God has for you (Romans 8:32), and thank Him for the eternal life He offers to all who believe (John 3:16). Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be sacrificial in your own life—putting the needs of others before yourself and showing others that the love of Christ is for them too.

SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.

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