Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross
Dane Entze and his wife were coming back from an anniversary getaway and decided to indulge in a bit of romantic nostalgia. They crossed Johns Hole Bridge in Idaho Falls, Idaho, spanning the Snake River. It was the site where they met for their first date, but on the morning of November 12 it was another sight that caught their attention. Dane’s wife noticed someone was driving their car into the river. They stopped their vehicle, and Dane crossed onto a ramp and began talking to a woman who was in the water, informing him that she was committing suicide. He told her, “I don’t know who you are, but I’m here and I love you and I’m going to help you.” As they talked, she began moving toward shore. But she got to the point where she stopped, saying she did not have the will to live. The air temperature was 19 degrees when Entze jumped into the icy water and brought the distraught woman to shore. He helped her dry off and warm up until first responders arrived. When interviewed, Entze said it was a matter of being at the right place at the right time. He drew on some military training and knowledge of the area, but he gave this advice. “Doing something kind is all it takes. You don’t have to do something dramatic or dangerous to help somebody else. Be vigilant” (Mythil Gubbi, Fox 13 News, Salt Lake City, UT).
Certainly, there is something to be said about suicide prevention. According to the CDC, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in our nation, and over a million people attempted suicide in 2020. While mental illness can play a role, most often it is driven by despair and hopelessness. Love and support can be vital to encouraging those with such tendencies to find the help they need.
But, I would like us to consider another application. You and I, in traveling down life’s road, encounter so many who are in spiritual danger. They may or may not know it, but they need to be rescued. We benefit greatly from biblical training, but it takes even more than that. It requires us to do something, to be vigilant. They need to know we’re here, we love them, and we want to help them. If there is anything more lasting and impactful than saving a life, it is helping to save a soul.
One who “turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (Jas. 5:20). God has given us the life preserver to save them (1 Cor. 1:21; Jas. 1:21). The word of the cross can save the perishing (1 Cor. 1:18), and the Bible makes it clear that God wants no one to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). He saves those drowning in sin through you and me. We need to have our eyes open. We need to appreciate how valuable and necessary that rescue work is. We need to care and be kind. It may require a sacrifice of time, effort, and energy, but nothing is more crucial than rescuing one whom Jesus died to save.