Living Like You’re Confined in a Crate
In 1964 Brian Robson was an 18-year-old living in Cardiff, Wales. Seeking adventure, he responded to an advertisement for a job opportunity to work for the Victorian Railway in Australia. But after just a few days of working as a ticket inspector, Brian found he hated the job. He was outgoing and wanted to make friends. But he only worked in remote locations and could spend no more than a few seconds with customers.
Robson’s displeasure turned to misery. He only wanted to return to Wales, but he didn’t have enough money for the air fare. He was making only 30 pounds per month, and a ticket cost 400 pounds. He tried to stowaway on a ship, but was arrested and spent three months in jail.
After his release, he saw an advertisement from a moving company that boasted, “We move anything anywhere.” Robson decided to ship himself back home in a wooden crate.
With the help of two co-workers from Ireland, Brian climbed into a 36 by 30 by 38 inch crate. To fit into the crate, he had to fold his body, bringing his knees to his chest. Then his friends passed him a suitcase, a bottle of water, a pillow, a book to read, a hammer (to free himself from the box), a flashlight, and an empty bottle to urinate in. They nailed the lid to the box, pasted “This Side Up” signs, posted the shipping address, and identified the contents as a “main frame computer.”
The journey to London was only supposed to take 18 hours. But his flight was diverted to Los Angeles. Robson suffered greatly from the extreme low oxygen level, air pressure, and low temperatures. In 90% of such escapades, death is the result but Robson survived. When the flight landed in LA, his crate was stored for another 22 hours – upside down. Robson was now sitting on his head and neck. He faded in and out of consciousness. He had no strength to hammer the lid off and free himself from the crate. Robson expected to die.
Finally, airline workers spotted light coming from the crate – from Robson’s flashlight. They freed him from the crate and rushed him to the hospital, where he spent five days recovering.
Fortunately for Brian, no charges were filed against him. Instead, Pan American Airlines, graciously flew him home to Cardiff. This time he traveled First Class.
And now, at age 76, Brian Robson is trying to locate the two Irishmen who helped him back in Australia. But his motivation is more than to show gratitude. A book company has agreed to publish his account of the ordeal, calling it, “The Crate Escape,” and he needs their input and permission.
Think about it. Consider the vast difference between traveling in a confining crate upside down – in an unpressurized cargo hold – and traveling First Class with its ease and perks. There’s a spiritual parallel to his Brian Robson’s harrowing adventure. It illustrates the difference between trying to live the Christian life under legalism and living it by the power of God’s grace and love.
Many, many Christian believers live their lives as though they’re forever under God’s disapproving frown. They ceaselessly try to “measure up” to a code of conduct – things they believe a Christian must do to be worthy of heaven. They feel confined into a tiny crate of commands and guilt. They know no joy or peace. Instead fear and guilt dominates their lives.
But this is not how God wants us to live. God wants us to be as relaxed and restful as a small child draped over his mom or dad’s shoulder, sleeping in perfect peace. He or she has no fear of their parent’s anger or abandonment. They simply rest in their parent’s love.
If we believe in Jesus, He gives us the right to become children of God (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1). And we are not only God’s special children by adoption (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:5). We are truly and spiritually “born by God” (John 1:13). His very life and nature have been imparted to us (2 Peter 1:4; 1 John 3:9). Jesus’ atonement has so thoroughly put away our sins and His blood so completely cleanses us of sin that the Holy Spirit can make His permanent residence in our hearts (John 14:16-17). And God does all of this freely, by His grace. It is His free gift to us – which we could never earn or merit in a million years. Our salvation is the work of God, not man.
Just think about it. On the Day of Pentecost, the consuming fire of God’s presence hovered over and filled each of the believers in Jesus (Acts 2:2-3). Yet, they were completely unharmed. This is in sharp contrast to the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai who were terrified before God’s consuming fire and to those Israelites who perished by the fire of God (Exodus 19:16-24; Leviticus 10:1-2; Numbers 16:35).
Now, God hasn’t changed. He’s still the Consuming Fire He’s always been. But He’s made us fully fireproof by the blood of Jesus and the free gift of His righteousness. And He’s brought us so close to His heart that He now embraces us as His dear children in whom He invests His boundless love (Romans 5:5).
Take heed to God’s command in Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” Your salvation is the work of Jesus Christ. He began this wonderful work in you by the Spirit’s power and you cannot perfect it by human effort (Galatians 3:2-3). He Himself will perfect it until the day He returns (Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
Dear friend, if your Christian experience equates to living upside down in a confining crate, you do not understand God’s grace and love. Place your faith exclusively in the merit and finished work of Jesus Christ’s redemption. You cannot add to what Jesus has already done for you. You cannot make yourself any more righteous than the free gift of God’s righteousness with which Christ has already clothed you (Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, rest in the LORD (Psalm 37:7) and rejoice in God’s unconditional love and free salvation (Romans 3:20-30; 8:31-39).
PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, thank You that You have done for me what I could never do for myself. You’re put away my sins forever, clothed me with Your righteousness, and now, day by day, conform me into the image of Your Son. Dear Father, please open my eyes to see and understand Your love for me and the grace of Jesus Christ. Help me to cease trusting in my own efforts to please You and to trust wholly in Jesus Christ, with whom You are well pleased. Help me, Father, to rest and rejoice in Your love and salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.