By Jody Griffin
Avery and Mitchell Counties
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John15:13)
Tragic flooding in the Midwest recently brought to my mind images from similar experiences in years past. One such image was a bit of a personal epiphany…
Two small children had been swept away from their father’s hands by surging waters. The father ran to catch them and as he ran, he yelled for help. There was no sound with the video, but one could easily see what he said as he watched his children disappear from his sight. It was so horrible to witness that I almost shut my eyes, but I am so glad that I didn’t because what I was about to see can only be described as a miracle.
Both children had become entangled in some obstruction in the waters and were struggling to keep their heads positioned to breathe.
Suddenly, the television screen was filled with people. A man grasped a nearby tree and a human chain formed before my eyes. Within seconds, a man reached out and took hold of the first child who instinctively climbed from person to person to land. Mere moments later, all were soaked-but safe and alive!
The testimonies of those who had become this chain of life for the children all said essentially the same thing. When they heard the father call, they could do no less than risk their own lives for someone in need. One woman even said that she gave no thought to the fact that she couldn’t swim, she just saw the urgency of need and responded.
I have witnessed similar miracles here in this community. We have had our share of tragedies in recent years. But with each tragedy, there has also been beauty. Human chains have formed, reaching out to those in crisis, reaching not just with hands but with hearts. Your selfless ministry is an inspiration to me. You hear the cry for help and give nothing short of yourselves in response.
Your financial support of this ministry and for some of you the time you spend volunteering within the gates, and for countless others of you who cannot give or serve in person, but who PRAY for us, we thank God for you!
Let us all be thankful for the privilege to live as friends and to reach out to those around us in crisis! And Thank you so much for your faithful support of this ministry! You are our lifeline!
Jody Griffin is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and Community Funded Chaplin at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution