"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord,
"plans to prosper you and not harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
-- Jeremiah 29:11
Before FedEx, UPS and E-mail, there was Special Delivery.
Between 1885 and 1997, the USPS (the "Post Office") offered this popular service, which involved a letter's delivery from the local branch office directly to the recipient (rather than through the mailman's regular daily mailbox route). And Special Delivery postage--not surprisingly--cost several times more than the price of a regular First Class stamp. After all, Special Delivery required a dedicated courier (sometimes on a bicycle or motorcycle) to hand-deliver the important message, which ensured its receipt by the right person...and at the right time.
What was so special about Special Delivery?
Today, we live in an age of instant messaging, tweets, E-mail and Facebook. We can take a cell phone from our pocket and call almost anyone in the world at any time. But back in the days before jet airplanes and the Internet erased the miles between New York City, London and Tokyo, Special Delivery was the way to quickly spread the word about the big stuff--that critical life-changing news involving issues like marriage, birth, death or even a job offer.
As a flawed people who fall well-short of God's high standards of perfection, we also need a Special Delivery. And like the one once offered by the Post Office, its price is quite high. But our deliverance happens to be though God's own Son--Jesus--who paid the enormous cost of our failures and wrongdoings by dying a common criminal's death on cross. And then three days later, He fulfilled the Old Testament prophesies written about Him centuries earlier by rising again to life. Though this incredible act, everyone who accepts Jesus' free gift of salvation is a new creation ("born again") in God's eyes. We don't deserve it. But our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior wipes the slate clean and delivers us from death. We can live our lives anew and have an eternal future with our loving Creator.
The Apostle Paul sums it up this way in his famous letter to the Christ-followers in Rome: "But God has shown us how much he loves us--it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!"
The Post Office may have abandoned Special Delivery years ago, but God still specializes in this costly, prepaid service. And unlike the USPS, He's happy to deliver on nights, weekends and holidays.