Principles from a Dramatic Rescue

By Fred Smith

In 1987 the dramatic rescue of Jessica McClure held our constant attention. Since then we have had numerous breaking news episodes, but this one began the saga of spellbinders. Remember the little girl who fell into the well? Mary Alice was 100% involved. She was so worked up at the final exit that due to her angina she closed her eyes for fear of a heart attack and said, "tell me when she comes up.". 1 think these situations give us an interesting time to relate our Christian experience to life. During the watching I scribbled down maybe four observations:

Our greatest joy comes from our deepest sorrow. If she had been in there only for an hour or two, in fact we would never have known about it; but out of the depth of our sympathy came our exuberant joy when she came out. Apollo 13, the Baltimore snipers and the POW rescues emphasize this, as well. As a nation we share the the drama and the trauma. The favorable outcome is shared by us all.

Sometimes our handicaps become our opportunities. The man born without a collarbone was able to squeeze down where another person could not have gone, all his life he has suffered with this lack but now it became his strength. If he had had a collarbone he would have been unavailable and no one would ever have known him. Often we can use our handicap. Queen Esther was told, "perhaps you were born for a time such as this." Our handicaps may be windows of opportunity.

3. How easy we forget blessings - while little Jessica was down there I'm sure Mr. and Mrs. McClure were saying, "If they'll only get her out we'll ask nothing else for the rest of our lives." They were sincere but it won't last, because like all of us we've had great blessings in our lives and we soon forget them——that is our human nature. If the McClure's were like most other couples, they were arguing about something so small compared to Jessica's recovery that it wasn't worth discussing. 1 remember one Christmas when our older daughter was in the hospital and we were afraid it could be serious. I prayed for the Lord just to let her be home for Christmas and that would be all I would want. We were very contented as she came home, but we forget so soon.

I wonder how many people prayed and thanked God as sincerely when Jessica got out as they did when she was down there. I found myself forgetting to stop and give thanks. I've been asked many times to pray for people in trouble but I've never been asked to pray for somebody for whom things are going well. If it were not for our troubles God would hear from us very little…sad, but true.

4. How hard we work to extricate a person physically but I wonder if we would work that hard to save a soul. Can you imagine how fanatical a person would have been considered if they had worked that hard with no possibility of getting her out physically but of helping her spiritually? The drama of seeing rescue teams, neighbors, and media working feverishly to bring her to the surface alive was electric. We all fought for her life. Would we fight as hard to free a soul from the depths of hell as we did from the depths of the well?

It will be interesting to see this from an eternal perspective.