The piece relates how the U.S. Coast Guard helped to rescue ten people – seven adults and three children – who had become stuck on ice floes that had broken away from the shore of Edgewater Park in Cleveland. A call came in around 2:30 p.m. regarding a group of people who had walked out onto the ice of Lake Erie, only to find themselves stranded once it broke off into two separate ice floes and began drifting.
The USCG affirmed later that it had rescued six individuals via an ice skiff; while four others were escorted off the ice by the City of Cleveland Fire Department.
What is surprising is that this is not an uncommon happening. It seems that over the years, many people have had to be rescued from floes that had broken off into Lake Erie.
For example… In March 2019, the Coast Guard and various other agencies rescued 46 ice fisherman from an ice floe, NBC News reported; while in 2009, 134 anglers were stranded, then saved by the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement agencies in a rescue that made national news, The Associated Press reported.
Not surprisingly, it turns out that many of these rescues are necessitated despite warnings not to venture out on the ice. Hours before this most recent rescue, the National Weather Service of Cleveland warned that… “dangerous ice conditions are developing over the next couple days. It is advised to stay off the ice on Lake Erie as areas of ice could break off from the shore”.
Thereafter, the USCG Great lakes, echoed these warnings of hazardous weather, urging residents to “avoid going on the ice” and to “take steps to protect and help yourself”. Nonetheless, despite being told “Do not walk on the ice... The lake is not frozen,” it seems that many people chose to ignore the warning and place themselves in peril.
As I read this story, I could not help but be reminded of its parallels to an even greater set of truths. The Bible affirms that God created men and women, and blessed them with a wonderful place to live. In the process, He gave them a few basic rules to follow – ones that were not burdensome or hard to follow, and that that were clearly given in their best interest.
Nonetheless, men and women chose to ignore God’s rules, and go the way of their own choosing. As a result, they soon found themselves imperiled by the consequences of their steps. Yet, in spite of this, God heard their cry, and came to their aid. He did this for Adam and Eve. And later, He did this for you and me as well, by sending His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins.
James Rowe captured the magnificence of what God has done for us with the words of his classic hymn….
1 I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me – Now safe am I.
Love lifted me, Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help, Love lifted me;
Love lifted me, Love lifted even me,
When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.
2 All my heart to Him I give, Ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live, Ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true, Merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful, loving service, too, To Him belongs. [Refrain]
3 Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love, Out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea, Billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be – Be saved today. [Refrain]
Of course, as Jesus Himself said, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.” And for this reason, it behooves those of us who have been saved to help facilitate the rescue of others. This principle, as well, has been beautifully captured by a hymn writer. Moved by God, Fanny Crosby penned these immortal words…
1 Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
weep o'er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
2 Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting,
waiting the penitent child to receive;
plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently,
He will forgive if they only believe. [Refrain]
3 Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
chords that are broken will vibrate once more. [Refrain]
4 Rescue the perishing, duty demands it;
Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide;
back to the narrow way patiently win them,
tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. [Refrain]
As one who has experienced having the dread of certain peril overshadowed by the knowledge and joy of being gloriously saved, I have now accepted the challenge to help rescue others who are also perishing. I trust the same holds true for you.
The writer, Bradford Betz, is an editor for Fox News. He can ber followed on Twitter @bradford_betz.