Saturday, October 15, 2022

Search and Rescue


I had a dream that I am on a search-and-rescue planning team. Our mission is to determine how best to help people who are adrift in the ocean, like after the Titanic disaster.  We decide that the best shape for life preservers to throw to them while they are awaiting rescue boats is triangle-shaped, rather than circle-shaped.

Our reasoning is that each triangle-shaped float can support three people, one holding on to each point, and that each person holding onto the float with one hand can also hold another person’s hand on another float, thereby interconnecting with many people. This would form a raft or net of people that could support one another emotionally and even physically by improving their stability, so that they would be less likely to be submerged and drown while waiting for rescue.

It would also improve their visibility and audibility, if all yelled for help in unison, when a boat or helicopter appeared.

In contrast, a circle-shaped float would be practical only for supporting a single person, and those holding it would be more likely to drift away from the others, get discouraged, go under, and drown.

When I awoke and considered the meaning of the dream, I realized that “search and rescue” was an appropriate analogy for missions evangelism, which has been the theme of our church’s Missions Conference going on at present. Jesus Christ came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and so should we.

Each of us who is saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) is a missionary, appointed by Jesus Christ Himself to fulfill the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Sharing the Gospel with every living creature (Mark 16:15) is not solely the responsibility of the pastors, missionaries and evangelists.

Only the Holy Spirit working in a person’s heart can save that soul, or rescue them completely from drowning in a sea of sin, and set their feet on the firm Rock that is Our Savior (Luke 6:48; Matthew 16:18). In the dream, salvation was represented by the rescue boats.

In our work of sharing the Gospel, we may not be the one who ultimately hears a sinner’s profession of faith, but we will be rewarded for any part we play in leading that soul to the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:19).. We are like rescuers tossing life preservers to the drifting, keeping them alive and encouraged until their heart is ready to confess their sin and invite Jesus inside.

The triangle-shaped float in the dream I believe represents the Trinity of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit – three sides of the same eternal Godhead (Luke 3:21-22). Unlike the circle, which is self-contained and has no potential points of attachment to anyone else, resulting in isolation and self-absorption, the triangle has points that allow interconnections with many others.

If our witness to a lost soul does not immediately result in their salvation, we could encourage their conversion by helping to place them in a Christian community – a Bible-believing church, shelter, or fellowship group where the Gospel seeds we have sown are likely to be watered and the tender shoots nurtured so that salvation can be fully rooted in their heart.

Even once a person is saved, being in a network of believers is vitally important to foster their spiritual growth in Christ and to enable them to share the Good News with others. There are many New Testament examples of one person accepting Christ as Lord and Savior, followed by their household receiving salvation (Acts 16:30-33; Luke 19:1-9; John 4:53). Fellowship and service in a local church, uplifting and strengthening one another, is an essential part of our Christian walk (Hebrews 10:25).

The three points of the triangle may also represent Jesus’ saying that where two or three are gathered in His Name, He is in their midst (Matthew 18:20), and that by two or three witnesses, every word is established (Matthew 18:16). Each believer is not an island, but a member of the church, or body of Christ, each with our unique function, mission, and purpose. Each of us is intended to reach out to others using our unique talents and sphere of influence (1 Corinthians 12:17).

In the search-and-rescue mission that Christ has given to each believer, may we faithfully offer lifesaving help to the perishing and bring them into a supportive network of Christians until the Trinity accomplishes their eternal salvation! May we connect with and support fellow believers through the life raft of our church!

© 2022 Laurie Collett



Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
The moment I first read about the triangular life rings, my thoughts were on the Trinity. Thus, this idea of a floating human "mat" as a life-preserver certainly looks to be a good idea.
However, I have read other people's concepts of salvation regarding lifesaving techniques. One late theologian and a very popular itinerant preacher likened it to the drowning man being thrown a rope from someone standing on the river bank. The rescuer pulls the rope in until the victim is safe.
The setback of this method was that the victim, or the one being rescued, must hold tight to the rope. Should he let go (because of cramps or falling unconscious?) he will drift away and drown.
This, to me, pictures conditional salvation, where the one being rescued needs to help the rescuer to be saved.
As a one-time pool lifeguard, if I see someone in trouble, I would have dived in, correctly grab the victim, and then tow him to safety.
He came to seek and save those who are lost.
Blessings to you and Richard.

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
It sounds like your approach to saving someone from drowning is best, because it requires no effort from the one in peril, who may already be exhausted and unable to help himself. It is also a much better analogy for spiritual salvation than the rope, which as you say, requires work by the one who would be saved.
Amen -- Jesus cane to seek and to save the lost.
Thanks as always for sharing your experience. May God bless you and Alex,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie, the Lord speaks to us often in dreams, I had one recently. He has a wonderful way of reaching all of mankind through using all in a way He chooses. I have always said that I see the Lord as the Master chess player, with each person He uses as a chess piece. I probably see it this way because I used to love playing chess some time ago. God bless.