Repentance and the Crocodile
I first heard this moving story from evangelist Ray Comfort at a seminar in Minneapolis. Usually anecdotes and anologies don't do much for me, but this one kicked me in the gut. It really helped me to realize what a life of repentance should be about. (Taken from the book, How To Win Souls & Influence People by Ray Comfort):
A father and son once went on a camping trip. When they arrived at the site, the father pitched the tent and said, "Son, see that river; it's full of crocodiles. If you want to do any fishing, fish off the wharf." The son reluctantly agreed that he would stay on the wharf.
After three days of fishing, the son began to think about the excitement of fishing amidst the crocodiles in the safety of a boat. So, that is what he did. He obtained a boat, and in a sense of bravado, rowed out into the river.
He had only been fishing for a short time when a crocodile came alongside the small boat and hit it with its tail. The terrified boy was thrown into the water. The father heard him scream, saw what had happened, and without hesitation dived into the crocodile-infested waters. He grabbed his beloved son and pulled him to the safety of the shore.
When the boy opened his eyes, he saw a grisly sight. A crocodile had wrapped his massive jaws around the father's legs, leaving him in bleeding shreds.
The following thought is unthinkable. Imagine if the son looked at his father lying in agony, bleeding to death, and said, "Dad, I really appreciate what you just did for me. But I found it exciting out there with the crocodiles- you wouldn't mind if I got another boat and went out again, would you?"
If the son could think, let alone say such a thing, the blind fool hasn't seen the sacrifice his father has just made for him!
If we have any, even hidden desire to go back into the sinful excitement of the world, we haven't seen the sacrifice of the Father.
If that son has seen what his father has just done for him, a sense of horror will consume him at the cost, the extreme, the length, the expense his father has just gone to, to save him. He would pour contempt upon the very drops of water that still cling to his flesh.
The true Christian has seen that God in the person of Jesus Christ, without hesitation, dived into the very jaws of Hell to save him from the folly of sin. A sense of horror consumes him at the cost, the extreme, the length, and the expense his Father went to, to save him. He cries,
"And when I think, that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in; that on that cross, my burdens gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin."
The Christian pours contempt upon the sinful desires that still cling to his flesh. The true convert is crushed by a sense of his own foolishness and yet at the same time, he has inexpressible gratitude for the "unspeakable gift" of the Cross. He has seen Jesus Christ "evidently set forth and crucified." He says with Paul, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world." After seeing the sacrifice of the Father, how could he ever go back to the exciting pleasures of sin? To do so, he would have to trample underfoot the blood of Jesus Christ. He would have to count the sacrifice of Calvary as nothing.
Instead, he willfully crucifies himself to the world, and the world to himself.
He whispers with the hymnist:
"When I survey the wondrous cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I could but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride."
As the songwriter says, "The Cross has become the Tree of Life for me." The world cannont attract him any longer. They that are Christ's have crucified ther affections and lusts.