A group of students from Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a Spring Break mission trip. The group conducted a Vacation Bible School program at a children’s home in Bobita.
After their final day of work at the children’s home, team members went to see the ocean. Tragedy struck. Shane Ruiz, 19, and two other students were walking along the beach in knee-deep water when they were hit by a large wave. Shane was swept out into the ocean by a strong undertow. Team members and Dominicans on the beach spent the next three hours attempting to rescue Shane, but were unable to reach him.
A Bible professor from FHU relayed these events to the chapel assembly at the Faulkner University Lectureship in Montgomery, Alabama. With great emotion, he said that many desperately sought to save Shane, but “their arms were just too short to save him.” They could not reach him.
He then quoted Isaiah 59:1–2: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
The reality is that because of our sins, we are separated from God and lost. The undertow of sin is too strong for us to save ourselves. Even our friends and loved ones can’t save us. Thus we are doomed.
But the arm of the Lord is not too short to save! God loves us so much that He sent His Son Jesus to save us from our sins (John 3:16). In order to save us, Jesus gave His life for us. He died on the cross to rescue us from sin (Ephesians 1:7). He was the only one who could save us, for He was and is the sinless Son of God.
God will save those who will place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30–31), turn from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30–31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9–10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3–4).
That’s why Shane and his Christian co-workers were in the Dominican Republic during their Spring Break—to tell those who were lost in sin that God’s arm is not too short to save!
That’s the good news (the gospel) for us, too! No matter how deeply we have sunk into sin, God’s arm is not too short to save us. We must simply reach out to His extended hand through our trusting obedience.
David A. Sargent