It happened in Florida. A young man and his partner-in-crime planned a night of mischief, crime and burglaries.
He had shared his intentions, of breaking into a number of homes in the bay area, with his girlfriend earlier in the evening.
Neighbours spotted two suspicious men behind their homes and called the emergency services. Police, a service dog and a helicopter were dispatched that night to hunt down the suspects. The young man called his girlfriend to tell her the police were on his trail. But the search produced nothing. He successfully hid from the law and the police called off the search. When he didn’t return home that night, his parents called the police to report him missing.
Ten days later the body of the 22 year old man was discovered floating in the same crime-spree neighborhood pond. Very close to the remains of the young man was an alligator – so ferocious that it had to be euthanized. It appears the young criminal jumped into the pond to hide from the police and the service dog. Tragically he not only lost a number of his limbs to the 11 ft. gator, but he also lost his life. What seemed to be a safe hiding place from the authorities turned out to be a disaster.
Are there spiritual lessons to be learned from this story?
- We commit offenses and sins against God. In fact, if every one of our secrets were exposed on social media for the world to see, we would go into deep hiding and never want to show our face again. But where would you hide?
- Spiritually, God is the Authority and the Judge. Our first line of accountability for any and all of our sins is to God. He cannot be bribed or manipulated. If we think our friends would be shocked, disappointed and disgusted, have you ever thought of God’s feelings about our sins? His standards are much higher and holier than those of our friends and neighbours.
- Sinners do their best to hide from God. Some are in denial about His existence – as if that would alter the reality of their accountability. Others hide their sin by a camouflage of good works. They feel better and safer but it is a total deception. Good deeds do absolutely nothing to offset our wrongs. Hiding behind such a cover is no safer than jumping into a gator-infested pond. The ultimate end will be spiritually tragic.
- Unlike with local police and other authorities, your tracks never go cold and God never loses your scent. In fact, your entire life is totally exposed and transparent to His holy, all-seeing eyes. Hiding from God is futile. You cannot escape. He is observing you right at this moment.
- What is uniquely beautiful about God is His love for you and every other sinner. Lovingly and graciously, God provided a way for you to safely turn yourself in and to stop hiding. When God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, down to this world, He sent Him on a mission of mercy to provide a righteous way for sinners to find a safe refuge from the punishment for their sins.
- Jesus Christ actually endured and experienced the penalty of sin on the cross. He was innocent. We are guilty. The Bible says: “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) and “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
- If you will come clean about your sins when you pray to God, and turn to Jesus Christ as your Saviour, Shelter and Refuge – you will be safe. Outside of Christ, you have no safe hiding place.
When you surrender to Christ and accept Him as your personal Saviour – you are safe and secure in this life and forever. There is no danger of you ever becoming unsheltered and exposed again to the judgment of God. You will be safe and secure in Christ.
Here are some beautiful Bible verses about God as a shelter and refuge – for those who have a relationship with Him:
“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7)
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)
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