It was supposed to be a one-hour fishing trip off the coast of South
Carolina. For 17-year old Josh and his 15-year-old friend Troy, it turned
out to be a six-day nightmare at sea. When they set out on their little
14-foot Sunfish, they didn't know about the small craft warnings in that
area. Within hours, the fierce winds had pulled them out to sea - to a point
111 miles north - well outside of the Coast Guard's search area. They fought
to stay alive by eating raw jellyfish and gargling sea water. They were
severely sunburned, exhausted and dehydrated. After 48 hours, the Coast
Guard announced they were suspending their search and moving from a rescue
operation to a recovery operation. But there was this uncle who refused to
concede the boys were dead. He's a police officer, and he thinks rescue.
After studying the weather and the currents, he concluded that they might be
as far as the area where they actually were found. He made sure that fishing
vessels in the area were alerted to be looking for the boys. And as they
were praying that God would either take them home or take them to heaven,
some fishermen spotted them - and saved them.
That's what that uncle had. When everyone else had given up hope of saving
those boys, he was looking for a way to do it. He was a rescuer who refused
to give up, who would not quit.
You have someone who loves you like that; someone who has refused to give
up on rescuing you. You say, "Do I need rescuing?" We all do. Because we
are paying the price for all the times we've done things our way instead of
God's way; all the times we've broken God's laws and pushed our Creator
to the margins of our life. Isaiah 53:6, our word for today from the Word of
God, describes our lostness this way: "We all, like sheep, have gone astray;
each of us has turned to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). We're paying the price
in guilt, and stress, and loneliness, and the bitter consequences of our
selfish mistakes. Worse yet, that's only a taste of the ultimate price we'll
pay for drifting so far from our home port.
If we don't get rescued, we'll end up separated from God and His love
forever. That's the penalty for spiritual hijacking - taking over a life
that God was supposed to direct. So whether or not you realize the spiritual
danger you're in, your only hope is a rescuer. And there is one - only one.
He doesn't want to leave you lost. So He found a way to bring you home,
but it cost Him everything. Speaking of Jesus, that statement in Isaiah says,
"The Lord has laid on Him the wrongdoing of us all." For Jesus, the road to
rescue you led to a cross. That's where He paid for your sin.
Jesus said He leaves the sheep that are already in to "go after the lost
sheep." That could be you today. He's come right to where you are to reach
out His hand to you. When you grab His hand, when you grab Him as your
only hope, you are rescued. You are headed for the home your heart has
been missing your whole life. But you've got to be willing to leave the course
that has been taking you away from God and to depend totally on Jesus to
make you clean and take you to heaven someday. This could be the day of
your rescue. I've tried to briefly describe how that rescue happens in a little
booklet I wrote called Yours For Life. If you want it, I want to send it to
you. It might help you be sure that you belong to Jesus.
Jesus really, really loves you. He doesn't want to lose you. He went all the
way to a cross to bring you home. And now He's reaching for you to rescue
you. I pray you will grab His hand.