‘YOU reached down from heaven, and You lifted me up from deep in the ocean’ — Psalm 18: 16.

Ever dropped your car keys down a drain? More often than not, ‘Mercy’s Law’ dictates that they are not washed away, but land on a shelf not far below the drain-cover.

But ‘Murphy’s Law’ follows closely behind, dictating that they are too far away to reach. You can see them glinting in the shadows, but nothing you do reaches. A coat-hanger isn’t long enough to hook them. Physical contortions aren’t enough to get your arm through the grill of the drain-cover. And shouting at them generally achieves nothing.

You have only two options. You can abandon your keys. Or you can prise open the drain-cover and climb down. Only the second option will get your car started.

Even before Jesus Christ, the Bible anticipates the notion of God ‘reaching down’ for us. When nothing else will save us, God himself will take the initiative to reach us. In the verse above the Psalmist gives us a trailer for the miracle of incarnation (Jesus’ birth), when God not only lifts the drain-cover, but climbs down the ladder himself.

There is no place so low that God can’t reach us. There is no water so deep that He can’t draw us out. There is no current so strong that His grip will fail us.

Rev Tom Grant, Minister, Andover United Reformed Church