Widening the Search Area

APphoto_Malaysia Plane

By now, you have probably heard news of Flight 370, the lost Malaysian Boeing 777. And if you have been following this bizarre story of inflight disappearance, you are aware that the search area has been widened to more than 27,000 square miles. It has become abundantly clear that authorities have no idea what has happened to this plane.

Our prayers are with those on board Flight 370 as well as the families of the crew and the passengers. And while there are far more theories than evidence, we pray that somehow the lost passengers will be reunited with their loved ones soon. Nevertheless, aviation experts are saying that chances are slim. In fact, the effort has already started changing from rescue to recovery.

If this flight crashed in the ocean, the main problems are distance and time. The further an aircraft gets from its flight plan and the more time that equipment has to sink in the ocean, the less likely it is to be recovered. Perhaps this is true of those who go missing from the church as well. The farther they travel from the plan, and the longer they are gone, the less likely it is that we can help rescue them.

When one of God’s children goes missing, Jesus tells us that the good shepherd leaves the 99 in safety and retrieves the one (Luke 15:1-7). Seeking and saving the lost is so important to Jesus that He told His disciples that it was the reason He came to this world (Luke 19:10).

Do we shoot into action when someone goes missing from among us? Do we “widen the search area” to include the lost who are outside our immediate area? How far are we willing to go? How much are we willing to spend?

As of this morning, over 1,000 people, using 42 ships and 39 planes from 12 countries, are searching for any sign or clue of what could have happened to this missing flight. Perhaps we in the church should take a few notes from the way the world treats the lost.

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