A stranger in need is a friend indeed

The reports of the floods in Brisbane have shown the great power of natural forces. In moments flash floods swept away cars and destroyed property. The story of 13 year old Jordan Rice is deeply moving.  The car he and his family were travelling in was hit by a wall of water which began engulfing the car. Mike McErlean and Chris tried desperately to help the family in the swirling torrent.  As Mike and Chris got to the car Jordan, who could not swim, was nearest to them. He insisted that they take his 10 year old brother, Blake, first. Before the rescuers could get back to the car it was swept away taking Jordan and his mother, Donna, with it. They both died.

Out of the tragedy and deep sadness of natural disasters amazing stories of human courage and kindness often emerge. These 2 men risked their lives to save strangers. One man said that in Brisbane they have proved the truth that, “A stranger in need is a friend indeed.” Human beings have a great capacity for selfless and sacrificial action. Life is so precious that we may be ready to put our lives on the line in order to save people we don’t even know.

This is because we have been created by God and bear his image. We are not the result of time and chance, but have been made what we are by a gracious, wise and loving Creator. At our best we are like him, we are essentially relational. In the Bible the 2 greatest commandments are to love God with all we are and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.  These are not arbitrary commands but express the heart of what God made us to be – people who love him and love each other.

Jesus came from heaven to earth to rescue us. He was ready to die on the Cross so that our sins might be forgiven and that we might be reconciled with God. Like little Jordan, Jesus did not put his own interests first.  One hymn says, “Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God, he to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood.”  When we realise the love of God for us in Jesus our lives are changed forever. For the first time we really love him from our hearts as we respond to his amazing love for us.

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