There once was an old Indian man who used to meditate each day be the River Ganges. One morning he saw a scorpion floating on the water. When the scorpion drifted near the old man he reached to rescue it but was stung by the scorpion. A bit later he tried again and was stung again, the bite swelling his hand painfully and giving him much pain.
Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled at the old man, “Hey, what’s wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don’t you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?” The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, that does not change my nature to save.”
It is in God’s nature to save – because it is in God’s nature to love. God seeks the lost, heals the wounded, forgives the offender, and gives hope to those who are in despair. It is what God does. It matters not that we might be scorpions – that we might hurt him – God has made promises to us – and he keeps them.
That is what the story of the cross is all about. St Paul writing to Timothy says: “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
Our purpose – the purpose God calls us to – is to save as well: – to change our minds about the destruction we want to bring about when we feel hurt, – to relent of the anger we have, and to work to save others as God has saved us, us who are sinners no less than those whom we are angry at.
Someone once wrote of having been on an ocean liner headed to the Middle East. Nine hundred miles out to sea a sail was sighted on the horizon. As the liner drew closer, the passengers saw that the boat – a small sloop flying a Turkish flag – had run up a distress signal and other flags asking for its position at sea. Through a faulty chronometer or immature navigation, the small vessel had become lost.
For nearly an hour, the liner circled the little boat, giving its crew correct latitude and longitude. Naturally, there was a great deal of interest in all the proceeding among the passengers of the liner. A boy of about 12 standing on the deck and watching all that was taking place remarked aloud to himself – “It’s a big ocean to be lost in.”
It is a big universe to be lost in too. And we do get lost – we get mixed up and turned around. We despair, we make mistakes, we harm each other
But while it is a big universe out there it is not a hostile one – at least not on God’s part. God’s wrath does not last forever – indeed it barely lasts but a moment for God remembers who we are, what we are made of, and whose we are, and it is in his nature – even when dealing with scorpions – to seek the lost, to save the sinner and have compassion on those seek his shelter.