Worse Than “Mostly Dead”


A man once told me the story of a situation that happened at a pool where he used to swim.

It was a typical day at the pool. Things were running smoothly, and there had been no fights to break up that day. All in all, it was a pretty laid back afternoon. The ambiance was blatantly interrupted, however, by three long whistle blasts followed by the sound of a big splash, which was of course created by the lifeguard who jumped in to save a young child. The E.A.P. (Emergency Action Plan) was executed flawlessly. The lifeguard pulled the child out of the pool, checked his pulse, and began CPR. They then grabbed the AED and began shocking his heart hoping that it would start beating again. People watched, hoping and praying that this boy would “snap out of it.” For a period of time, that seemed like an eternity each lifeguard did their job. Some performed crowd control. Others called 911 and notified the paramedics. Still, others continued CPR in hopes that this boy would wake up. Suddenly the silence was broken by the sound – cough cough cough. He was alive! The boy sat up slowly trying to orient himself as to his surroundings and to catch his breath.

The tension that had lingered in the air for the last few minutes was gone. However, when the boy finally realized what had happened, he sat up and asked a terrifying question. “Where is my sister?” Instantly the lifeguards began looking for his sister. They searched the crowd and asked people if they knew where she was. The search came to a daunting halt when the sound of three long whistle blows was again heard, and one of the lifeguards jumped in to grab a young girl from the bottom of the pool. Like before, the lifeguard did what they could to save the life of this girl, but this time there was no response. She was dead. They had done everything right. They called 911, got people back, and performed CPR flawlessly yet they forgot one thing. They forgot to make sure everyone was out of the pool and try as they might that little girl never “woke up.”


I can’t think of this story without being reminded of the miracle of salvation. It is easy to downplay how devastating our problem is apart from Jesus. We understand that we have a problem. But it can be easy to talk about our condition without Jesus as if a short prayer and a little bit of moral encouragement are all a person needs to bounce back and get on with their lives.

This is not an accurate picture of a person’s problem. The Bible says that apart from Christ you and I are dead in our trespasses and sins. When the Bible looks for a way to explain our problem, it describes our condition as dead. It’s really a rather devastating picture. We are without life and unable to help ourselves because dead people can’t do anything — like the girl in the story. But praise God! Jesus came to bring dead people to life.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.