Rescue is Here
Early morning commuters were filling the roads as the first flurries of snow started. The day before had been unusually warm and sunny, so the snow was not sticking. It was, however, melting and then freezing onto the road. As the snow got heavier, it began to cover the underlying sheet of ice on the road and visibility decreased. Driving conditions worsened by the minute. Kaitlyn had not checked the weather forecast the night before, so she was running late and going too fast.
The truck in front of Kaitlyn suddenly slammed on its brakes. Instinctually, Kaitlyn followed suit but the truck in front of her was beginning to slide sideways and she clipped its back corner. Her car sent the truck spinning so fast and with enough force that the hooks of the tiedown straps holding the snowmobile in the bed straightened, throwing the machine twenty feet out of the truck bed.
This also sent Kaitlyn’s car into a spin. When she came to a stop her car was straight, but the truck that had been behind her was barreling towards her. When the firefighters and EMTs arrived, they found Kaitlyn trapped inside her car. She was semi-conscious and bleeding profusely. For some reason, her airbag hadn’t deployed. She was also wearing a puffy coat under her seatbelt so that it wasn’t snug against her body. The force of the crash compressed the coat, causing her chest to slam into the steering wheel and her head into the windshield.
As the firefighters pried off her car’s door, her breathing became very difficult and panic crept in. The EMTs delivered her to the hospital as fast as possible. The pain in her chest worsened and her labored breathing became nearly impossible during the ambulance ride. An EMT quietly prayed God’s protection over her as they drove. This helped calm her only a little bit.
The EMTs rolled her gurney to the first available ER room where a surgeon waited. In a concussed fog, Kaitlyn’s panic turned into sheer terror as the nurses began cutting away her clothes and cleaning her chest. The EMTs gave their report as the surgeon began his work. Minutes later, her breathing eased as he alleviated the pressure inside her chest cavity. Once she was stabilized, the nurses wheeled her gurney back into the cold. Kaitlyn didn’t understand the loud noise and rushing wind until the door slid shut and she felt herself rise. The EMT who said a prayer over her in the ambulance said another as he watched the helicopter lift off the ground and quickly fly towards the trauma center down south.
The EMT only knew her name from the driver’s license he had given to the hospital staff and he would never see her again. However, three months later, after the EMT recounted the story at a training class, a man approached and asked the patient’s name. That man then confirmed to the EMT that Kaitlyn, his cousin, was alive and well. He added that the doctors had told her that if the EMTs had not responded quickly and if they had not identified the severity of her issues quickly, she would not have lived. Mere moments would have kept the surgeon at the first hospital from being able to stabilize her. Kaitlyn’s gratitude to everyone involved in her rescue and healing was relayed by her cousin. God had surely spared her life that day.
Kaitlyn’s story reminds me of the last few chapters of Acts in the Bible. Paul was being delivered to Rome when suddenly, a violent storm blew up and started battering the ship. Paul kept calm and encouraged those on the ship to have faith. Paul was destined to witness to the Romans and God would use him there. Not even a storm that threatened to destroy their ship would stop Paul’s mission. He had confidence in the Lord’s Word. “For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told.” (Acts 27:23–25).
In the storm, the ship ran aground and was broken up by the sea. Paul and the rest of the men jumped overboard into the sea and swam to shore. Not a single one of them perished, just as God had promised. There was no reason for them to be afraid; Paul knew God would deliver them from the storm. Paul and the others were rescued. Soon after, as they were warming up by a fire on Malta, “a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on [Paul’s] hand. He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time [they] saw no misfortune come to him.” (Acts 28:3, 5–6).
God spared Paul’s life again and again because he was on a divine mission. Paul’s spiritual life was aflame and he would spread that faith fire throughout the Roman Empire before he was martyred by the emperor. Why was Paul’s faith so strong? Why was Paul never afraid of dying? Because he had the sure hope of everlasting life through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Paul knew that Jesus had died on the cross and rose from the grave to save everyone who believed from eternal damnation. Unlike the reluctant Jonah going to Nineveh, Paul was excited to go to Rome and do God’s will, even despite the many dangers that laid before him. All Paul could do was thank God for protecting him on his path to Rome.
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you.” (Romans 1:9–11, 15).
May God keep you safe and may He bless you in your daily ventures. Jesus Christ has already rescued you – all you must do is believe in Him and repent of your sins. If He calls you to take this amazing message to others, even to dangerous areas, FEAR NOT! He will keep you safe and allow you to fulfill your calling in His name. Who knows, maybe one day you will be the instrument that God uses to help rescue someone else from the fires of hell.
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:4–7).