Kiddie Pool or Ocean Deep?

Kiddie Pool or Ocean Deep?


I think my favorite word in our English language is the word, Rescue. It has come to mean everything to me. Why? Well ... because I need rescue.

As a young man, I thought the Christian life was primarily about me and my effort. That got flipped on its head when I saw the true condition of my heart. I began to realize that my efforts weren't that admirable or pure. They were mediocre, underwhelming, and pedestrian. Which brought me to need a rescue.

Keep calm and guard on

When you hear the word rescue, what comes to mind? I see a lifeguard diving in to save a drowning child. I hear sirens screaming on their way to a four-alarm fire. I see my friend (Mark L.) jumping out of his seat to do the Heimlich maneuver on an elderly diner – and the launched projectile that saved her life.


What makes each of these rescue situations memorable? The weight of what was at stake if the rescue attempt failed. To fully appreciate a rescue, one must grasp the depth of danger at hand. Put another way, it's not a campfire for roasting marshmallows – rather, the house is ablaze with children trapped on the top floor.

Years ago, the following thought 'dropped' into my head – taking up permanent residence on my hard drive (i.e. my brain):

"The good news of the gospel is only Great News
if the bad news of our danger is absolutely awful!"

Repeat. Slowly.

"The good news of the gospel is only Great News
if the bad news of our danger is absolutely awful!"

Let me be clear: the bad news is far worse than you're thinking. The Bible says extraordinary things about the current condition of our lives. Let these sink in:

You are dead in your sins. (Ephesians 2:1)
You are a child of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3)
What you earn from sin is death. (Romans 6:23)
You will perish without Jesus. (John 3:16)

Please, let the bad news sink in. Why? Your awe and appreciation for the good news of Jesus is directly connected to your apprehension of your danger. In fact, your gratitude for Christ's rescue is precisely proportional to your perception of your peril.

A swimming pool with lap lanes.
Shallow or Deep End?

So many people see life like a large community swimming pool. There is a deep end to the pool, and a shallow end where small kids hang out. Sometimes the shallow end becomes its own, separate thing: a kiddie pool.

Now, I don't know about you, but I've never seen a lifeguard jump into the kiddie pool to save an adult from drowning. So if I think that I am in the shallow end of the pool – in the kiddie pool – then the promise of a lifeguard rescuing me from danger seems irrelevant, even laughable.

That's the problem. We think we're in the shallow end, and all our "good works" are floaties around our arms, giving us extra buoyancy with God. But the Bible doesn't say we're in the shallow end – it says we are in the deep end of the pool and we cannot swim. No, it's worse than that. It's like we're all alone, in the middle of the deepest ocean, on the very blackest night, in the middle of a raging storm ... trying to tread water, with sharks circling around us ... and there's blood in the water.

Let me drown.

We are in danger! Which makes the rescue so glorious!

I shared this Kiddie-pool-vs-Ocean-image with students a number of years ago, and a young woman in our ministry (Caryn) took it to heart. She combined the ocean image with a scene she'd recently read in Luke 15, where Jesus leaves 99 sheep to rescue the One. As a Fine Arts student, she blended these two metaphors together in her painting, below.

If you look closely, you'll see many sheep sinking to their death in a dangerous ocean. Caryn explained her painting to her classmates. The image of the sheep drowning depicts the breathtaking danger that all humans (sheep) are in. But there is real hope in this painting when you look closer. There is a Diver in the upper right quadrant, and he is Jesus who comes to rescue those who acknowledge their dangerous condition and cry out to him for help. Look at the picture below. Though it's a bit fuzzy in my version of the picture, I've circled the wet-suited-diver pulling the sheep up to the surface. That's Jesus, rescuing his sheep. Rescuing me. Rescuing you.

Isn't that beautiful? Yes, it is.

The greater the danger, the more glorious the Rescue!


Finally, if this isn't enough to make you smile, I've got a bonus question for you: Can you guess what Jesus' name means? (Names mean something, right? My name – Daniel – means "God is Judge"). Ready for this? Jesus' name means: "God Rescues" (I just heard your jaw hit the floor.)

So, dear friend, do you apprehend the danger of your situation? You're not in the kiddie pool. There is only One who can rescue you from the ocean of judgment. His name is "God Rescues." Call out to him. He's always close by.