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Hippos in the River

I was about 12 years old the summer we lived in a singlewide mobile home on the Umpqua River in Glide, Oregon. My stepfather was helping with an evangelistic series and that was home for several weeks. I remember it for a few reasons.


There was a rock formation under the water, clearly seen by me, that resembled a hippo. It would get in my head and start to freak me out. There were many times that summer when I would have to get out of the water for fear of that silly rock…doing what??


Secondly, the 4th of July that year. We could not have any fireworks because it was too hot and too dry. Instead, God provided the most amazing thunder and lightning storm I have ever seen in my life! I remember thinking, “This is better than any fireworks show.” It truly was incredible. The sky lit up for an hour.


Thirdly, trying to climb a steep cliffside one hot afternoon. My stepbrother was a daredevil and he wanted the two of us to climb it. I had a bit of common sense, and my commonsense meter was going off. “Do not attempt to climb that! Go back the way you came.” It was not a rocky cliff as much as a lot of vegetation. And I decided to go for it.

It all started with one little step up. “Come on Jeanette. You can do this. Just grab with your hands; find footing with your feet.” Repeat. In no time at all I was halfway up the side off that cliff.


Suddenly, I realized the branch or plant I was hanging onto was giving way. I could feel its roots releasing their grip in the soil. At about the same time I felt one of my feet slipping. I threw the weight of myself against the side of the hill and did not move. Panic started to set in. I did not want to climb another inch. I knew I was going to fall.


It took much coaching from my stepbrother that day to get me the rest of the way up that cliff and I never attempted such a silly thing again. Some people love it, but it’s not for me.


I read the following this morning and it caused to me think of the story I just shared with you.


“When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.” Psalm 94:18 NIV


Jesus is that support when we slip. Verse 19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”


When we are nervous, when we are worried about something, when we are afraid, Jesus is the consolation that brings joy.


And then verse 22, “…my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”


Christ the solid rock. If I had kept my feet on solid rock that day, I would not have risked life and limb on the side of that cliff.


Jesus is our surety.


I had not given that word much thought other than to think Jesus is my constant; I have the confidence and assurance that He is always there. But there is more to the word.


According to Merriam-Webster it is a formal engagement such as a pledge given for the fulfillment of an undertaking, a guarantee.


It is also one who has become legally liable for the debt, default, or failure in duty of another.


Jesus did that for us on the cross. Christ is our guarantor.


“…This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant…he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:22-25 ESV


Jesus Christ is our surety. He is our guarantor. He is our intercessor.


I love that old song “Jesus Paid It All”. He paid the bill and handed you the keys to the kingdom. He is amazing and He is worthy of our praise.


Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

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