Friday, July 1, 2005
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.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Love That Cannot Let You Go."
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.