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Rescued – The Finest Hours

It was called “The Finest Hours” of the Coast Guard and here is how the story unfolded…

It was the night of February 18, 1952, when a fierce nor’easter snowstorm came roaring into Cape Cod.  

It was a much stronger storm than expected and the seas were more violent than anyone had anticipated.  

Two oil tankers found themselves caught in the middle of the storm. The first ship sent out a mayday and the Coast Guard threw every resource they had available to try to save the crew on this one ship.   

What the Coast Guard did not know was that there was a second ship that had lost its radio equipment in the wreckage, and they were unable to send out a distress call.  

The second ship had 33 men stranded on board and it was only discovered while trying to rescue what the Coast Guard thought was the only ship.

There was a big problem. The big problem was not that there were two different ships in distress. The bigger problem was there were no experienced boat crews left at the Coast Guard station. The finest boats, equipment, and men had already been deployed.  

So, an inexperienced crew was thrown together and sent out into stormy seas.

This inexperienced, thrown-together team had determination simply because there was a mission with lives at stake. The task seemed impossible. Even still, four men responded to the mission at hand and set out in a 36-foot wooden rescue boat.

Bernie Webber was put in charge of this makeshift rescue crew, and, against all odds, he and his crew answered the call.

They began taking on water due to the engine repeatedly quitting. Their compass failed. They stuck with the rescue mission.

Battling through the elements, their small searchlight eventually illuminated one of the tankers and its survivors. 

The stranded crew tossed over a ladder and made the daring descent toward the tiny Coast Guard boat.

The small rescue wooden boat quickly began to reach capacity, but Webber made the heroic decision to strive to rescue every man. Only one man didn’t make it, 32 of the 33 stranded survived! Even without a radar or compass, Webber managed to navigate back to safety. 

The 36-foot rescue boat used that day was designed to only carry a crew of six with a maximum of 10 survivors. 

It was a miracle! The Coast Guard has since attempted to replicate the scenario by placing 36 people on board a boat similar to what Webber used and was unable to do so. This has been recorded as the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history!

What an amazing, inspiring story! 

It is moving and inspirational to see what a man can do when he is unwavering in his cause.

 But if man can accomplish a rescue of this magnitude, what do you think God can do?

“And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Mark 10:26-27

Remember, God’s whole purpose of coming to this earth “to seek and to save that which was lost.”

He will do everything within His power to save us. What He cannot control is our will. And He will never violate or overide our will either.

If you say NO to Him, will He still love you? YES!

If you say NO to Him, will He still pursue you? YES!

But He cannot save you as long as you keep saying, “I want MY WILL. I WANT MY WAY.”

The man in this story in the Gospel of Mark walked away from eternal life because the price was too great.

God can save anyone, and it is His hope that everyone would repent and turn to Him and be rescued from their sins. 

But unfortunately, not everyone will say yes to the rescue mission.  

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2

God has every ability, power, and strength to rescue you and to rescue me. 

He does not lack in His love. He does not lack in His grace. He does not lack in His mercy.

In other words, there is only one thing that can stop Him from rescuing us….ourselves. 

When he went to the cross, He was throwing out a life preserver. He was throwing out a life jacket to save us because we were sinking in our sins.

When we make the choice to not turn away from our sins, we are refusing the help HE DIED FOR. Our sin separates us from Him.

That is what happened at the beginning in the garden when Adam and Eve sinned. They were separated from God and felt shame. 

That’s the devil’s tactics! He wants to pull us as far away as possible from God and for us to drown in our shame, our hopelessness, our anxiety, our depression, our loneliness.

The devil wants us to think it is normal for us to live like this.

Just getting enough breath to breathe and then dunked under water of all these symptoms that have overcome us. You don’t have to live like this anymore.

You can be set free from your sin, your shame, hopelessness, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

The answer is found only in Jesus Christ.

His rescue plan is summed up from the events that happened 2000 years ago what we now celebrate every Easter. 

He died the physical death, now we must die out to our will, our wants, our desires, and take up our cross and follow Him.

When we repent, we are dying to ourselves. When we are baptized, our old nature is buried. When we receive the Holy Ghost, we receive new life, just like the resurrection.  

If you want to be rescued today, take the first step. Give him your whole life, your way, your desires. He’s waiting to rescue you. 

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10

Kent Elliott

Senior Pastor | Faith Tabernacle | Manchester, CT

Sr Pastor at Faith Tabernacle / President & Lead Consultant, FAITHWORKS Image Consulting. Husband to Crystal & father to Kaylea, Johnny (SIL) & Chase.

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