When my kids were younger—my two daughters were in early elementary school and my two sons were preschoolers still at home with me—walking a block to the bus stop every morning was an exciting daily event. But one sunny spring morning, it was a death-defying adventure. Not for us but for a baby squirrel.
We had only made it to the end of our short driveway when one of my boys spotted it. “Look, Mommy, LOOK!” Across the street, in the mulch under our neighbor’s tall tree, was a hawk swooping down toward a baby squirrel. The medium-sized bird dwarfed the tiny animal, which made the sight of its claws curling around the fur of the baby squirrel even worse. It was like an episode of some Animal Planet show happening in our suburban neighborhood.
“NO! STOP!” Now both my boys were standing on the sidewalk, yelling at the hawk, while my girls looked at me with a combination of shock over about what we were watching and worry that all this commotion was going to make them miss the bus. Unfazed by the shouts of my sons, the hawk started to flap its wings, rising up with the baby squirrel dangling from its claws. With that, we all started yelling and waving our arms wildly. “No!” “Drop him!” “STOP!”
Then as the bird neared the top of the branches, we saw her: Momma Squirrel. She zoomed up the big tree trunk, raced out onto a branch, and was practically eye-to-eye with the hawk. I heard some kind of high-pitched noises but couldn’t tell if it was the squirrels, the hawk, or my kids. Then the amazing thing happened. The hawk swooped back down to the mulch, dropped the baby squirrel, and flew off.
Cheers and jubilation broke out. “YAY!” “You saved your baby!” “Did you see that, Mommy?!” We walked the short block to the bus stop, recounting to each other in amazement all we had seen, then telling all the kids and parents waiting for the bus. It’s a tale of salvation we’ve retold many times over the years.
The Momma Squirrel saved her baby that day. The noisy pleas of my kids may have helped a little, but it was the momma who rescued her baby from certain death. The circumstances were bleak when we came on the scene, but we also got to witness the rescue.
A Longing for Rescue
Do you ever hope for that kind of rescue from your circumstances? Do you long for someone to come defend you in a moment of need? Do you long for this rescue for someone else? To be delivered from danger? To be safe and peaceful?
Salvation is a core message throughout the Bible. Every person has a desperate need (Rom. 3:23) to be rescued and redeemed from sin and its consequences of death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus Christ, through His perfect life, lovingly sacrificed to cover the debt we owe to a holy God. He is the only sufficient and able Savior. He alone knows our greatest need and is able save us. We are saved when, through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit, we realize our great need and His power to rescue and redeem us and believe. Then, again through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Truth of God’s Word, we can live in response with worship, praise, obedience, and a focus on bringing Him glory.
Through that astounding exchange and our response, there may be circumstances in our lives that we are rescued from as well. But here is some essential truth so many of us miss: Salvation from circumstances is not our greatest need. Too often we mix in our definitions of salvation—for ourselves and others—with God’s. We add to the gospel. Perhaps not intentionally but still surely, we redefine salvation. We think that salvation should include being rescued from circumstances. We reason that surely faith in Christ will bring healing to our pain, relationship to our loneliness, notice to our neglect, and an end to evil that surrounds us. For ourselves and those we know and love. Now. In this life.
But that is not the gospel.
Saved for the Eternal, Not the Temporary
Our greatest need is salvation from the eternal consequences of sin, not the temporary effects of it. Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). We are sinners, dead in our trespasses and sin, but God (Eph. 2:1–5). God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, offer Himself as the only-sufficient sacrifice for our sins, and conquer death through His resurrection.
When we recognize our sin and see our need for salvation in Christ alone from that sin, then we are redeemed to walk in newness of life on earth (Rom. 6:4) and promised eternal life with Christ (John 3:16; 1 John 5:13). Part of our great hope is that we who believe and trust in Christ will have healing for our pain, relationship for our loneliness, notice for our neglect, and an end to evil in eternity:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Rev. 21:3–5).
So while God, in His mercy, may bring physical or relational healing or other tangible blessings as you walk in faith here on earth, those are not your ultimate needs. Do you grasp the ultimate reason you need to be saved? If you haven’t, perhaps this is the day of your salvation! Turn to Jesus Christ today and believe!
And if you have already been saved, then could we together stop and praise God for filling our greatest need? Just as the baby squirrel’s greatest need that day was not to be rescued from the scary flight in the clutches of the hawk but from impending death, our greatest need is to be saved from the power of sin and death to life in Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:3–9).
From our team: Like Heidi Jo, we want you to know the truth about the gospel—the good news that Christ died for sinners, offers His salvation freely, and rose again to give those who believe in Him new life. If this is a new story for you, visit this section of our website (and click through the arrows at the bottom of each page) to learn more. And if you have more questions about how you can know and follow Jesus, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below. We’d love to guide you to finding the True Hope you can have in Jesus Christ.