By David A. Sargent|
Four years ago this month, a group of students from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, TN, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a Spring Break mission trip. The group conducted a Vacation Bible School program at a children’s home in Bobita.
After their final day of work at the children’s home, team members spent some time relaxing at the beach. Then tragedy struck…
Shane Ruiz, 19, and two other students were walking along the beach in knee-deep water when they were hit by a large wave. Shane was swept out into the ocean by a strong undertow. Team members and Dominicans on the beach spent the next three hours attempting to rescue Shane, but were unable to reach him. **
Dr. Ralph Gilmore, Bible professor at F-HU, recently relayed these events to the chapel assembly at the Faulkner University Lectureship in Montgomery, AL. With great emotion, he told how that as many desperately sought to save Shane, “their arms were just too short to save him.” They could not reach him.
Dr. Gilmore quoted Isaiah 59:1-2 – “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”
The reality is that because of our sins, WE are separated from God and lost. The undertow of sin is too strong for us to save ourselves. Even our friends and loved ones can’t save us. Thus we are doomed.
“But the arm of the Lord is not too short to save!” God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to save us from our sins (John 3:16). In order to save us, Jesus gave His life for us. He died on the cross to rescue us from sin (Ephesians 1:7). He was the only One who could save us, for He was and is the sinless Son of God!
God WILL save those who will: place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-4).
That’s why.... Shane and his Christian co-workers were in the Dominican Republic during that Spring Break in 2008: to tell those who were lost in sin that God’s arm is not too short to save!
That’s the Good News (the Gospel) for us, too! No matter how deeply we have sunk into sin, God’s arm is not too short to save us. We must simply reach out to His extended hand through our trusting obedience.
- David A. Sargent, minister for the church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
* Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family and friends of Shane Ruiz and to the Freed-Hardeman family on the anniversary of his death. We also express profound appreciation to Shane and those like him, who seek to remind others that God’s arm is not too short to save us from sin.
** Information gleaned from The Christian Chronicle -- http://www.christianchronicle.org/article2158288~Freed-Hardeman_student_presumed_drowned_on_mission_trip