December 6, 2023
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The funeral plans for Matt were in the works. The Park Service had announced that Matt was one of five people who had been killed in a plane crash on a mountainside in Montana. The funeral never happened. Suddenly, Matt's bereaved parents heard the stunning news: although he had been badly injured, their son, along with one other Forest Service worker, had just been rescued alive, miles from the crash site. Rescue workers at the scene of the crash had concluded that the charred wreckage and the scattered human remains indicated that the crash had been "un-survivable." But amazingly, Matt and his fellow worker hiked for 29 hours, often in subfreezing temperatures, until they reached a highway where a motorist picked them up. One news magazine called it, "A Miracle in the Snows of Montana" (Newsweek, October 4, 2004).
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Bringing Back a Loved One."
Many a parent with a child away from God has despaired of them ever coming out of the spiritual death that they've chosen. There may be wreckage, there may be damage, injuries, but it's way too soon to think it's over.
If someone you love is away from the Lord and hope is sometimes hard to hang onto, God has a promise for you today in Psalm 126:5-6. It's our word for today from the Word of God and it's a good one. He says: "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." All those months and years of praying and weeping and sowing the seed of God's Word in their life will not return un-harvested.
How God does it, when God does it, whether or not you may even be here to see it is totally in God's hands. But you can be sure the Shepherd is persistently, skillfully pursuing that lost sheep you love and that He loves so much more. Remember, He's more concerned about the one who's lost than the 99 who are doing okay.
I can't begin to list the wanderers and rebels that my heart has ached for over the years; so many who had tasted the goodness of God but who wandered away - some of whom are still wandering. Some of whom have gloriously come home to Jesus, now living for Him with the fervor of one who loves much because they've been forgiven much. Through all these battles for people away from Jesus, I've learned a couple of simple principles that are grounded in Scripture. They've been anchors when it looked like there was no hope.
First, remember the difference between a chapter and a book. These dark times in the life of that one you love are not the whole book - they're a chapter, or even a series of chapters. But many a book with sad chapters has had a happy ending. Don't judge the ending by the dark chapters in the middle of a book. Don't decide the game is lost because your team is losing at halftime.
If you think it's over, you may actually contribute to their continued wandering by resorting to nagging. And that's only going to drive them further away. Or by compromise and accepting what can never be acceptable before God. By slowly giving up on your prayer of faith for them, or maybe just withdrawing from them when your unconditional love may actually be their best hope. See, when someone you love is the least lovable, that's when they need your love the most.
Remember, as long as there's breath, there's hope. It just isn't over so long as they have breath to cry out to God for rescue. So keep on fighting for them in the Throne Room of Almighty God with defiant faith - faith that defies the devil's lie that "it's over. What's the use?" Keep on loving them. Keep on gently sowing seed, as the Holy Spirit opens up natural opportunities. Keep on asking God to make their sin unsatisfying to them, and cry out to the Lord, "Do whatever it takes, Lord, within Your will, to bring them to You!"
Jesus is still bringing back, alive, loved ones that had been spiritually given up for dead.