He Came Back!
Just Like He Said He Would
Her eyes overflowed with tears, mirroring the massive flooding around her as she pleaded, “Please help us, I’m scared!” Iashia Nelson, a 36-year-old mother of three, had been stranded on the rooftop of her apartment building for two days, along with 30 or so other individuals, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. She had called 911 several times on her cell phone, but was never given a timeline as to when help would arrive. Her dire circumstances seemed incredibly déjà vu, for just twelve years ago, Iashia had been rescued from a similar situation and evacuated to Houston in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Now, because of Harvey’s devastating flood waters, compounded by the sheer volume of calls for emergency assistance, first responders seemed unable to get to Iashia’s community with any immediacy. However, James Murphy, Jr., a volunteer rescuer, along with other cohorts, borrowed a boat and decided to venture out to search for anyone who might still be in need of rescuing, despite the apparent danger to himself.
As James’ small boat navigated down the flood-swollen street in front of Iashia’s building, she and the other displaced roof dwellers spotted him in the distance and began to cry out frantically for help. Although James heard their desperate cries for help, he was unable to stop and render assistance to them right then. However, before continuing on his way, he made this solemn vow: “I’ll be back, I promise!” Imagine their inestimable joy when those five reassuring words became an actual reality.
When asked by a television interviewer how she felt the moment James rescued her from her harrowing ordeal, Iashia replied, “I couldn’t stop crying, because I couldn’t believe that he actually came back, just like he said he would!”
How many of us would be willing to “come back” and put our lives on the line just to save a stranger? Yet, that’s the charge placed upon every believer who’s been rescued from sin by His grace. Our Savior came “to seek and to save that which was lost” at great peril to Himself (Luke 19:10). We too should extend our reach beyond just those we’re familiar with; we must also reach out to those we’re unfamiliar with as well.
Our communities need more “Jameses” willing to venture out and search for those who still need to be rescued. They need someone to allay their fears with faith, arrest their despair with hope, and alter their lives with love.
Let us never forget that we all are still trapped in a world flooded with sin. However, Christ has reassured us that, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back” (John 14:3). One day soon we all will say, “He came back! Just like He said He would!”