ON June 28, 2005 a military operation known as Red Wings was compromised and has been known as the deadliest day in military history since World War ll. Four US Navy Seals were in Afghanistan seeking to capture the leader of a Taliban militia group before being discovered and forced to engage in a battle for their lives. Three of the Seals lost their lives and one, Marcus Lutrell, was rescued by a stranger who soon became a friend. While US Seal Marcus Lutrell was crawling for safety and in search of water to hydrate his crippled body he was found by a village leader known as Muhammed Dulab. Dulab convinced Lutrell that he was not an enemy and took him to his home to protect him from the Taliban until American troops were able to rescue him. In a matter of moments, the two men went from being strangers to close friends.
In John 15:15 Jesus said to his disciples: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” The disciples hadn’t known Jesus for long when He spoke the above words. Their time with Him was just more than three years. Yet during that time they had moved from being strangers to friends. There is something interesting about experiencing hard times with a person that helps create a bond that is as thick as rope. Perhaps this is why we are told in James chapter one and verse two to “consider it pure joy when you face trials of various kinds.” As we face hardships with Jesus we learn to trust Him with our vulnerabilities and we grow in our understanding of His love for us.
According to Ephesians chapter two and verse three we were “by nature the children of wrath…” which means we were born with a mind that is alienated and at war with God. The same chapter goes on to say in verses four through six: “But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
Although we were once strangers without a desire to know God we were invited into a friendship with Him simply because of who He is. Proverbs chapter eighteen and verse twenty-four says: “A man that has friends must show himself friendly” and this is exactly what God did and continues to do in His approach to us.
As Muhammed Gulab protected the stranger Marcus Latrell from his enemies, so does God invite us into His home (His presence) to shield us from being overcome by the enemy (Satan). Gulab found Latrell broken, bruised, afraid and thirsty. Basically, Latrell was unable to sustain himself and was as vulnerable as he had ever been. So it is that the God of creation finds us wandering in darkness, thirsty for meaning, in need of forgiveness and void of unconditional love. Though we did not or may not realize it, we are vulnerable despite our social status, acquired assets and good health. When we look at ourselves with spiritual eyes it becomes clear that we are in need of rescuing. Jesus did not come to condemn us but to save us from condemnation. The path towards such salvation begins with embracing Him as our friend.
Father in heaven, please help us trust You as our Friend, Saviour and Helper. Amen.