Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Search & Rescue


"Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn't he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn't want to lose even one of these simple believers." (Matthew 18:12-14, MSG)

Even weeks after it happened, the world is still fixated on the amazing rescue story of the captain of the Maersk "Alabama". Overtaken by modern-day pirates, the crew was released after Captain Richard Phillips offered himself up as a hostage to the weapon-weilding youths. Days passed, and things looked grim as the captors held Captain Phillips at gunpoint in a large lifeboat. Easter morning brought an extra dose of hope when it was announced that Navy Seals had launched a surprise assault on the pirates and rescued Richard Phillips unharmed.

While both Captain Phillips and his rescuers continue to be hailed as heroes, there is One who executes these types of operations daily, and goes mostly unnoticed. His name is Jesus. In His own words, He described how He seeks and pursues us until we come to a saving knowledge of Him. Like those Navy Seals, He is uniquely qualified to know just when and how to reach us. Humble and loving beyond all measure is our Deliverer.

His rescue doesn't stop at that initial homecoming either! What's taken you hostage? Fear? Disease? Frustration? Medical bills? Despair? Exhaustion? "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear." (Isaiah 59:1) Your Lord is the only one capable of putting a floor under your free-fall. He cares deeply about every challenge you face and anguish you feel. He will rescue you because he delights in you. (Psalm 18:19) Sometimes He delivers you from the problem. Sometimes He delivers you through the problem. Either way, be assured that He loves you immensely and will reach out to save.

My friends, I recommend that you keep a notebook of all the times and ways He's rescued you. Record every dark tunnel that seemed would have no end. Reflect on those times and how your faithful Shepherd rescued you, bringing you joyfully home on His strong shoulders. Then you will have that constant encouragement to turn to when circumstances seem impossible. Peace will fill your heart as you realize, He carried me through before, and He'll do it again.

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