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Search and Rescue

By Dan Baumgartner on
Dan Baumgartner
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Apr 12 in Musings
“Mom, I’m alive. Come pick me up.”  That message was the joyful finale to a story which
began on Easter afternoon in Griffith Park. I told it at the Lord’s Lighthouse on Sunday.  Some kids were playing in the park, managed to enter an area that was fenced off and climbed onto the roof of an off-limits old maintenance building. Thirteen-year old Jesse Hernandez was jumping on some boards covering a large pipe when they gave way, and he fell twenty-five feet down into a large sewer system pipe with fast-moving water and was swept away.
All sorts of frantic rescue attempts were discussed, but it was complicated. Cameras
were lowered to examine some 2,400 feet of sewer pipe. They couldn’t find Jesse. With every hour that passed, his family grew more frightened, losing hope they would ever see him again. Finally, almost 2/3 of a mile away, rescuers lifted up a cover near the 134 freeway to see if they could put a search camera down...and there he was. Safe. Healthy.  Thirteen long hours had passed. Upon being rescued, Jesse borrowed a cellphone and dialed his parents: “Mom, I’m alive. Come pick me up.”  One official said it was “an Easter miracle.” 

Here’s who helped look for Jesse: the LA Fire Department, the Fire Department urban
search and rescue team, LAPD, California Highway Patrol, Recreation and Parks staff, Griffith Park Rangers, the Water and Power department, plus experts from the Sanitation, Engineering and Contract Administration Bureaus. Wow. When I read the list, I thought...this says so much. It says that one kid, one person, one really, really important. 

Isn’t this God’s basic message to us? God looks at human beings- created in His image- and says we are really, really important. So important that God would actually come looking for us. We get lost in all sorts of ways- not falling into pipes, perhaps, but making bad choices. Neglecting to live out what we know is right. Stuck in dark places. Failing to live well. But still God comes looking for us in Jesus. God is relentless. He wants all people to return and know Him. He holds nothing back, not even the life of his own Son.  Do we matter to God?

When the voice of God says in scripture “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you,” he means it. He is The-God-Who-Rescues. “Mom, I’m alive. Come pick me up.”
          See you soon,
                        Pastor Dan

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