Search and Rescue

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I really don’t remember how old I was, maybe 7 years old, but I do remember vividly the feeling of desperation after I had woken up to a lonely apartment on a tropical day. It was a habit for my mom or my dad to wake me up, during off-school season, to take me with him or her, to either restaurants they ran (our family owned 2). That particular day, they did not communicate to each other who would take me early in the morning, and both assumed the other brought me to their respective workplace. There, alone in the apartment, left behind, I felt very confused and extremely sad. I tried calling but it so happened that the phone was not working. No way to call out! I find it silly now that I spent the entire morning believing that my parents intentionally abandoned me, crying my eyes out, and feeling emotionally lost. Such distraught led me to do some funny things… writing SOS notes and throwing out the window from a 14th floor, and yelling out from the kitchen window for help, hoping someone would notice and rescue me (true story). In my little head, I thought, desperate times, requires desperate measures!

That happened to me in a safe apartment, with no threat nor danger, yet that did not take away the horrible feeling of (unintentional) abandonment.  I cannot imagine how little Saroo Brierley, whose story is depicted in the movie LION, felt when he woke up at the train station without his brother, being far away from his mom, and eventually being taken to a foreign land. Or in the same manner, I come to think of the Thai Youth Soccer Team and their coach who were trapped in a deep flooded cave for 2 weeks. That feeling of desperation must have been 100 times amplified while being lost and in darkness.

From the other perspective, I think of Saroo’s mom, or the youth’s parent. Their intense love an agony they must have felt to not know if their loved ones could be found or rescued. Being separated from the ones they truly love probably drove them to unceasingly find ways to be reunited, and save their lives even if it costs their own.

It was such a heroic act of Saroo’s to persevere to find his family, to the extend of using Google Earth, or for his mom to travel to different cities despite her lack of means. It was such a courageous and sacrificial act for the Thai & British Navy SEAL to traverse through deep watersto find a path to bring these kids back to their parents safe. Their lives were worth the risk.  The world rejoiced as Saroo and his mom were reunited, and as every teenager in the soccer team survived and went back to their families.

Both true stories above of being lost, found and rescued are just visible cases to which the world’s eyes are turning to. However, if we were to reflect on it, we can say that all of us have gone through times of being lost in life, trapped in darkness, wandering spiritually, emotionally, without a purpose.

Yet in all of this, the truth is that we have a relentless Heavenly Father that deeply loves us, searches for us, and rescues us from the underground cave, and the aimless wanderings. If Saroo’s mom had such a profound longing to see his son back, and Thai parents prayed and pleaded for their kids’ safety, how much more would our Heavenly Father desire to rescue us from misery and give us life. Even such remarkable rescue from expert divers cannot compare with the way God is determined to save us. He was willing to send Jesus, His only Son for us, to our rescue, knowing that he needed to die to do so (John 3:16). Only in this we would be found and reunited back to Him.

God himself says in Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

Titus 3:3-7 reminds us that, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

Though we were enslaved and in darkness, we still belong to Him. We are His Children. He won’t grow weary in waiting for us, nor is afraid of any sacrifice. His everlasting love for our lives cuts through any darkness, distance, danger, delay, because He just wants us back.  God’s love for us that intense that He won’t stop the searching rescue, like the Navy SEALS did, until we are with Him. Our Lord see us worthy, loves us greatly, and seeks us courageously. God’s rescue mission for His lost and missing children will never end until everyone is found. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). On the other hand, God is alsowaiting for us to Him and accept His embrace too, just like Saroo’s mom did.

You might be wondering what happened to me at the end? Did my parents realize that I was missing? I am glad to say yes! They both talked and were alarmed that I was left at home. Both at some point dropped whatever they were doing, and came back! They found me crying, embraced me, and apologized to me. They brought me food and assured me of their love. To me, it seemed like an eternity to be waiting then, but all those memories were washed away because of their love for me. When we’re back in God’s embrace, nothing of the past matter, no darkness nor aimless purpose. All that matter is to know that we’re found and safe in His arm, and He’s determined not to let go of us.