Rescue The Perishing!
By K. & M. Iesalnieks
"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep" (Psa. 107:23-24).
We lived for some years in a fishing hamlet. Our church and parsonage were very close to the Baltic Sea. Our congregation consisted mostly of fishermen and their families, very few of which had not lost a father, brother or son at sea. Most of the losses happened when they used sail boats, but fishermen are always in danger, even with motorboats.
I remember an unforgettable scene in September. The day previous was very nice and the sea was calm as a mirror. Many of the fishermen went into the sea in sailboats, four men in each boat. Usually they fished all night and returned the next morning, but that night a strong wind started to blow, and coming to shore was very risky because of the great breakers near the shore.
Early that particular morning, we were awakened by a strange commotion at the seashore. We got up quickly and ran to see what had happened. Some of the sail boats drew near the shore where the great breakers rolled in. The fishermen's wives and children and the elderly men were watching the boats go through the roaring waves.
Women knelt down and prayed; the children clung to their mothers and cried. Their heart cry ascended up to heaven, "God, don't let them perish in this watery grave! Have mercy on them!" One of the boats safely reached the shore. Then there was a joyous shouting, "Thank Thee, Lord! Thank Thee, Lord!"
In the sea were still other boats. The beloved of some on shore struggled to get through the breakers, but the boat turned upside down. What a heart cry was heard from those whose loved ones were in that boat! All four men were plunged into the roaring waves.
One of the elderly men cried out, "My son, my son! It is my son!" There were no lifesaving boats, but only one ordinary boat. The father cried, "I will go and save my son! Who will come with me?"
Two of our young people who were not fishermen (one was a mason and the other a carpenter) sprang into the boat and two men followed them and started to go into the roaring sea. They could not get through the foaming breakers and had to return to shore.
Then some more men ventured into the boat and they went again into the seas saying, "They must be saved or let us all perish!"
All the time everyone was lifting their hearts and voices up to heaven. "Oh, God, help them, save them, and have mercy on them all!" There was prevailing prayer and real sacrifice seen that day.
What a joy it was when, after a great and dangerous struggle, they reached the four struggling men and rescued them from sure death. When they were brought to shore, they were so weak they could not walk. The skin of the palms of their hands was torn off from holding the rope.
All they could say was, "Thank Thee, Lord! Thank Thee, Lord!" One of them came to Christ shortly after that incident.
The men who went to rescue the sinking fisherman acknowledged that without the help of God they would have failed. God surely had answered prayer. Fasting and prevailing prayers and self-sacrifice are necessary today to save the lost souls of our loved ones who are sinking into the roaring waves of worldliness and sin before our eyes!