Monday, November 9, 2009

The Perfect Lover: How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - Timely Rescue

How many of you get chills when Edward uses his hand to stop the van from crushing Bella? (Twilight, pg. 56) Do you catch your breath when his shiny, silver Volvo screeches around the corner at exactly the right moment to prevent the Port Angeles thugs from acting on their vile thoughts? (T, pg. 161) Does your heart skip a beat when Edward saves Bella, not only from James killing her, but from his venom as well, sucking out the poison from her blood at great sacrifice and suffering to himself? (T, pg. 455-56)

These timely rescues thrill us because Bella’s life is on the line. If Edward hadn’t intervened, she’d have been done for… and the story would have ended. But we’re on the edge of our seat nonetheless just in case Stephanie Meyer is into killing off main characters. We’re breathless with anticipation because we’ve invested, and more importantly, we’ve identified with Bella… the human.

If we found ourselves in an eminently life-threatening, uncontrollable circumstance, what in the world would we do?

Have you found yourself in an eminently life-threatening, uncontrollable circumstance? An accident, like the van? The result of personal decisions landing you in scary situations, like the thugs in Port Angeles? The victim of a world dominated by an enemy plotting to do you harm, like James?

For us non-fictional characters, our safety is in jeopardy in two dimensions. The world of time and space, what happens to us on a daily basis, is dangerous. Each of us has experienced a selection of different physical and emotional scrapes and bruises resulting from our participation in life. To keep those to a minimum, we need the hero attribute sacrificial protection, which I talk about next post.

But one danger, the one in the eternal dimension, we all face without exception. A timely rescue is necessary for our safety and security after life on earth is over. But we need it to show up now in response to the threat actively working to keep us from ever forming a relationship with our Love.

Part of the threat is the devil, but it’s not just an outside attack. The enemy’s job is to convince us that what really causes our plight doesn’t exist. (Gen. 3:4) In our society today, his quest has become easier and easier because no one wants to admit that the deadly circumstance we all face – the basic human malady – is our sin. (Rom. 3:23) We are in peril because we are fallen human beings who do wrong. Sin produces death. And there’s nothing we can do about it. We are not good, smart or strong enough to avoid or beat it.

We are truly the fairy tale’s damsel in distress, helpless Bella, in desperate need of a timely rescue – the Hero showing up before it’s too late.

We need… saved.

It’s not just a plot line in a fairy tale. It is a condition of our reality.

John 3:16 – It’s become a joke… the guy at the NFL game or in a spoofy beer commercial, holding up a sign with this reference. It’s the one verse we all had to memorize in vacation Bible school, if you got to experience that. It’s been read and reread for a couple thousand years now, and our medial brains have started to skim over the words with automatic apathy.

But the Truth is still as powerful, as sharp, as penetrating in those Words as when they were recorded. Read that verse out loud and receive it as a Lover’s sweet utterance of devotion. It is the key to the timely rescue Jesus provided for us when our life was on the line. (Rom. 5:8)

Think of it this way…

Imagine Jesus stopping the van with his hand…

Jesus in the shiny Volvo…

Jesus cleansing your blood through His sufferings.

We all have venom in our blood called sin, and if it weren’t for Jesus, we’d die from the poison. His appearance in our lives is timely and essential for us. His actions on our behalf were not as easy as we like to believe or choose to remember. Excruciating is more like it. (John 19)

In Twilight, depicted well in the book but even better in the movie (for once), Edward saves Bella from James’ venom by sucking it out of her blood, like first aide for a rattlesnake bite. Remember that just the smell of Bella’s blood causes Edward great anguish. So even thinking about tasting it would require colossal self-control at the same time inducing severe suffering to abstain from giving into his scorching thirst. He makes a deliberate choice, knowing full well that it was going to hurt… a lot.

Edward’s expression is tortured even as he saves his love because he is doing it at a high cost to himself. He cleanses her blood, taking it on himself, suffering in the process, but giving her life.

I’m so moved by this scene because as I watch (or read) it, I picture the parallel of what Jesus did for me.

Our response should be like Bella’s in the hospital: I’m alive because of You.

With that in mind, try reading John 3:16 just one more time.

(click for next chapter: Sacrificial Protection)

Photos used in Dry Ground posts courtesy of Photobucket.


lynnrush said...

Amazing, Lori. You hit the nail on the head when Edward's torture (sucking venom) is shown.

What he must have went through to save her.

Just like what Christ must have went through. HE felt the thorns, the poke in the side, the nails, EVERYTHING.

Yet he did it. To rescue me. John 3:16 is spot on.

Susanne Dietze said...

"I am alive because of You." Wow, amen, sister. Jesus went through torture, scorn, derision, suffering...all for us.

I love the image of Jesus as our Protector. Thanks. This blog series is fabulous!

KM Wilsher said...

Fabulous! I agree.

What great imagery. The volvo, stopping the van, the venom.

I picture Jesus cleansing me daily, and I am alive -- inside/no longer walking dead -- because of Jesus.

Great job!

"It’s not just a plot line in a fairy tale. It is a condition of our reality."

Marilyn said...

You are very right that our enemy tries to distract us from the reality of sin and how it affects our lives. It's so easy to forget or to downplay the situation because it makes us have to face up to our inability to "rescue" ourselves from sin's reality.