The Ladder of Hope

Jesus carrying cross

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“Am I going to die?” His eyes filled with fear, as he searched those of the first responder.

“Yes, you are,” the firefighter said. “So, you better take this time to get everything right with Jesus.”

“They were supposed to find me in time,” he said between sobs. “ I was only trying to get my parent’s attention.”

The firefighter looked up from the blood pressure cuff he placed on the teen’s arm. “You succeeded. Without a doubt, you earned their complete attention now.” The firefighter loaded the boy onto a rolling gurney.

“I didn’t think Tylenol could kill a person…not really.” He broke down in tears as he he was loaded into the waiting ambulance. The man in uniform rubbed his eyes, watching the ambulance drive away.

Recently, that seventeen year old died in a hospital bed, in agonizing pain. All the hospital staff could do was administer morphine, and watch as he slipped away, behind a curtained partition. I am sure he had his parent’s complete attention.

I was sitting at dinner, when I heard the firefighter’s story, I shot him a look across the table, as if to say, how cruel to say that to a dying boy!  Shouldn’t you have calmed his fears, made him feel better about the situation he was in?

Yet, the more I considered this story, I realized the true story was not hidden in a Tylenol overdose, it lay not alongside a dying boy, it was not buried in the hearts of broken parents, but shined brightly through God’s grace.

It was no accident the first responder was a firefighter, for he fought a spiritual fire that night, and it was no accident this straight shooting Christian in uniform told the boy truth. Due to his political incorrectness or his not being ‘nice’, he was able to place God’s ladder of grace in front of a sad, dying boy, who just wanted some attention.

I don’t know how the boy used those remaining hours. My hopes are he grabbed hold of that blood stained ladder, and climbed up. If that be the case, how thankful he must be for a simple firefighter who responded first…first with truth.

“Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes unto the Father but by Me. If you had known Me, you would have known my Father also.”  John 14: 1-7a

March 2012

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