Rescue Operation

Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done”
Prov 24:11-12 (NIV)

In the passage above, there are three kinds of people: 1) Those who are in danger and need someone to rescue them, 2) Those who do the rescuing and 3) Those who make excuses and do not get involved.

One of my favorite stories from WWII took place in the Philippines. At the end of the war, as allied forces were retaking the islands, the Japanese army was killing their prisoners rather than releasing them. One of the prison camps was located in Cabanatuan where 511 men had been held since the beginning of the war in early 1942.

When the US commander of the Philippine invasion force learned of the danger faced by the POW’s at Cabanatuan, he assigned Lt. Col. Henry Mucci, commander of the 6th Ranger Battalion to put together a rescue mission. Mucci assembled 127 elite US Army Rangers and explained the rescue plan to them. He only wanted volunteers as the risks were high and some of them would not be coming back. He told his men that if they were newly married, or were afraid to go, he did not want them to go. He only wanted men who were fully committed to the mission, men who were ready to lay down their lives for the sake of the prisoners, men who felt lucky.

No one was surprised when all 127 men confidently stepped forward to volunteer. Mucci briefed them further and then gave one last order before sending them to prepare for the mission. He informed them, “There will be no atheists on this mission. Every one of you is to report to the chapel immediately where you will get on your knees and pray with the chaplains and swear an oath to God that you will bring those prisoners out alive or die trying--dismissed!”

The rest of the story is one of the great rescue operations of WWII in which the Army Rangers joined forces with 200 Filipino Scouts and underground fighters to successfully bring out all 511 men from the Cabanatuan POW camp. One prisoner with severe malaria died during the journey but he died a free man. Two Rangers also died and other Filipinos and Americans sustained injuries in the effort to release these captives and save them from a death sentence. I am always moved by what they did to set others free.

We have the same mission. Some will step forward and volunteer to give their all for the sake of those who are perishing. Others will have excuses for not doing anything. For those who are ready to take action, God promises His supernatural aid in the ultimate rescue operation. If we don’t do something, people will be lost. Now is the time to stand up and do your part.

Reporting for duty,

Ps George

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