“The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.” – Psalms 34:22
If you were in France in mid-1940, the future looked bleak.
The German blitzkrieg had torn through once-vaunted French defenses. Paris was threatened (and soon occupied). Defeat was a question of “when.”
With British and French armies cut in half by the German advance, tens of thousands of Allied troops were stranded near the northwest French seaport of Dunkirk. German forces weren’t far away. The sea lie at their backs. They had no place to go.
With disaster looming, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued a stirring call to arms, closing with “We shall never surrender.” He asked British civilians to help rescue the beleaguered soldiers at Dunkirk. Despite the very real possibility they might never return, thousands responded.
A flotilla of more than 700 watercraft, many nothing more than pleasure boats, crossed the English Channel. Over a nine-day span beginning May 26, nearly 340,000 British and French troops boarded and sailed to safety. The rescue was called a “miracle.”
What if these brave British civilians hadn’t stepped up? The sea at Dunkirk would have run red with blood. History would have been altered, and geopolitics perhaps changed forever.
But they did … and their actions hold lessons for all people of faith.
Who Needs Rescuing?
“Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalms 82:4
Many people face a spiritual Dunkirk. A hostile, confrontational world has left them anxious and uncertain. Despite more means to connect with others than have ever existed, they feel isolated and lonely. Fear and uncertainty loom over their lives.
These people don’t know Jesus. Though seeking escape, they can’t find light in the darkness. Yet, they desperately need deliverance. Are we to turn a blind eye to them?
Some would contend we’re not in a position to help. We’re not clergy or counselors, after all. How are we qualified to pull these souls from the abyss?
Proverbs 24:10-11 offers guidance: “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.”
Consider the record rates of suicide, or people suffering from depression and similar challenges. There simply aren’t enough “experts” to step in.
How can we ignore the untold number of souls in need of rescue? We, as Christians, are called into the breach … just as Winston Churchill asked his citizens to do.
Launching Our Boats
“Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters.” – Psalms 69:14
The onus is on us to rescue those trapped, and facing spiritual death. We must respond to our Heavenly Father’s command.
As Christians, we fight with love and mercy. Being sinners ourselves, we wade into battle for the broken souls in our communities. These people don’t need messengers who are perfect. They need disciples who are passionate.
In Matthew 14, Jesus invites Peter out of his boat for a stroll across the water. Similarly (and conversely), we are called out of the water and into our boats. We can invite those who are flailing and drowning in with us. We can save them from spiritual death.
How big is your boat? How many can you rescue? Perhaps you won’t know until you begin. The certainty, though, is that many will perish if we don’t answer God’s call.
(If you’re ready to embrace Christ, He’s ready for you. Visit C Suite for Christ to join in Christ-centered fellowship with other professionals. Submit a prayer request for a pressing need in your life. Follow C Suite for Christ on LinkedIn and Facebook. Questions? Contact Paul M. Neuberger at (414) 313-8338 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)