As I think about my friends with cancer, and for that matter all the various problems we all face in our lives, the words "salvation" and "saviour" become filled with meaning.
Kathleen Norris wrote about an acquaintance who thought he could make some good money dealing drugs but got out when he discovered that drug dealers would kill you if you got in their way. "I decided to get out,' he said. 'This was over my head."' And Kathleen Norris writes, "And that is salvation, or at least the beginning of it." (“Amazing Grace,” p.20)
Christians often talk about salvation as if it were some kind of airy, non-body experience but that robs the Good News of its help when we're hurting. The word "salvation" generally means preservation in (not from) danger and deliverance from impending death. The "saviour" is the deliverer (Greek-English Lexicon). Indeed the Bible uses the words to describe Jesus winning for us forgiveness and eternal life but don't miss the here-and-now implications. God so wants you to be His that His Spirit comes to be with you in whatever problems this sinful and broken world throws your way.
In "A Mighty Fortress," Martin Luther wrote, "He helps us free from every need that hath us now o'ertaken." Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son reminds us that the need for salvation often comes to us slowly, in the events and problems of life. (Luke 15:11-32) Salvation isn't escaping problems; it's God’s saving presence in them.