I turned to Ivan’s voice and my heart stopped beating. Ivan stood inches from a 14-foot drop at the edge of the shop roof, smiling proudly. He was four years old.
I had been nailing roofing panels, my focus upon lining up edges on a chalk line. The steep pitch didn’t scare me much. I had climbed much worse as a younger man.
Ivan is my second grandchild. I had attended his happy birth with his family. Ivan was sweet, talkative and utterly inquisitive about everything. While my back was turned, he had climbed the tall extension ladder to help Grandpa.
He must have stood on the very top rung to maneuver around the top hand rail. His pudgy fingers must have gripped the cold aluminum—the way he watched grandpa do it. He must have let go and shuffled forward a step…
Our eyes met, and for an instant, a horrifying scene played in my mind. No time to pray. No time to think.
I SMILED. Like I would—when he blew out candles at his fifth birthday party. I smiled like I would—watching him get his driver’s license. I smiled like I would—watching him kiss his bride at his wedding.
I smiled to save his future.
“Come to me,” I said softly. He took a step, his arms wide for balance.
“Come to me.” My voice quavered as he took another. I stretched my arms toward him, praying he was as hungry for a hug as I.
“Come to me…”
Our lives could have changed in an instant, but, thank God, Ivan kept walking. I wrapped my arms around him, shivering inside (kicking myself for leaving the ladder in reach of my grandchild).
I have balanced at the edge of disaster many time in 66 years. Bad decisions. Stupid choices. Acting like a four-year-old. But God doesn’t ignore me. He doesn’t hammer away, with his back turned.
And Jesus smiles–like he will when he sees me holding my next grandbaby. He smiles–like he will when my wife and I celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. He smiles–like he will when I celebrate my grandchildren’s baptisms. He smiles–like he will the moment I step into eternity.
“Come to me.”
My trouble is “steeper” than I thought…
“Come to me.” Jesus says, and I shuffle forward.
My Savior wraps me in a bear hug, relieved that I am safe.
We all experience these “come to Jesus” moments in our lives.
Step away from the edge, and know profound relief as he wraps you in his strong arms.
You are rescued AGAIN, because Jesus has plans for your future, too.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. (Proverbs 23:18)
Footnote: Ivan is now in his 20s!