Isaiah 59:1-2 - Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or His ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.
In his poem "Mending Wall," the poet Robert Frost quotes a line spoken by the man who owns the farm next door to his.
The man says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
There is more than a bit of truth to that.
But there are also times and places when good fences can cause unnecessary deaths. Here is a case in point:
In October 2013 a boat carrying refugees from the troubled country of Syria capsized. The accident threw the elderly, the children - everyone -- into the water. One of the men on the boat, Dr. Mohammed Jammo, had a cell phone he used to make a number of distress calls to authorities on shore.
In those calls he shared how they were going to die if someone didn't respond with assistance.
Now here is where those good fences don't always make for good neighbors. The capsized boat was in waters over which Malta had authority. Unfortunately, Malta had no ships in the immediate area that could help with the rescue.
Knowing they couldn't do anything, the Maltese told Dr. Jammo to call the Italians.
As suggested, Dr. Jammo sent a text to the Italians, who did have a ship in the area. The doctor received a less-than-warm reception to his request. The doctor received the cold shoulder because Italy, like many countries, is having problems with immigrants. It seems many refugees are coming to Italy and are refusing to be assimilated into society. That is why the Italian ship was not overeager to pick up, and then drop off in Italy, hundreds of unwanted and unwelcomed people.
The Italians told Dr. Jammo to contact Malta.
This diplomatic tennis match continued for hours. Finally, a compromise was reached. Italy would send its ship if a Malta fly-over would first check to see if the boat had actually capsized and if there were people in the water who still needed assistance.
During the hours of debate and discussion 268 Syrians, including 60 children, died.
Have you ever noticed that Scriptures records the Lord holding no such discussion or debate as to what should be done after humanity fell into sin? There is no argument about what -- if anything -- should be done to rescue a world that was drowning in transgressions. No, God saw our helpless condition and He did something about it: He sent His Son to take our place under the Law and our death upon His cross.
Jesus' third day resurrection from the dead is God's proof that He would have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:4).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, accept my sincere thanks for Your grace, which decided to save souls that should have been unlovable. For Your Son's coming, His sacrifice, death, and resurrection, accept my never-ending praise. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Michael Harthorne for Newser on May 9, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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