He Will Rescue His Bride

 

     I first read this powerful story in David Seamands' wonderful book The Healing of Memories, but it's been told by many others and even made into a movie: it's the true story of an amazing rescue.   

The man's name was John Everingham. He was an Australian journalist in Southeast Asia, currently covering the news in Laos. The year was 1978. The Communist Pathet Lao regime had been in power for a few years already and, that year, they began expelling foreign residents and members of the foreign press as "enemies of the state". 

John Everingham was one of those. The government had grown especially piqued at his honest, unbiased reporting. So one night, in August of that year, he was arrested and thrown into a cell.

A few days later, he was expelled from the country, with nothing but the clothes on his back, and ordered, under threat of execution, never to return. 

But the problem was that, during his stay in Laos, John Everingham had fallen in love. He was, in fact, engaged to be married to a beautiful young woman—Keo Sirisomhone—a Laotian citizen. She was 22 years old; he was 26. The expulsion came so suddenly, that he was forced to leave her behind. 

Well, John didn't wander far. He was deeply in love with this girl; he wasn't about to let a bunch of communist ghouls rob him of his bride! 

As soon as he was out of the country—just beyond the border, across the Mekong River—he settled there, in Thailand, and for the next ten months, he planned his 'rescue'; planned it to the very last detail. The rescue would involve secret communications, scuba gear, a disguise, and a getaway car. In the meantime, poor Keo had been frantically searching for him ever since his disappearance. 

One day, in early May, a traveler from Thailand showed up at Keo's door with the news that a rescue was underway. Keo was told to wait for him, on a designated day, at a designated hour, on a deserted sandbank of the Mekong River. 

When the day arrived, John Everingham stepped out of his 'getaway car' on the Thai side of the Mekong River, put on fins, a mask, and a scuba tank, and plunged into the water. 

What he had failed to anticipate was that, at that time of year, the Mekong would be swollen with Monsoon rains. It was murky; there was zero visibility underwater. He had to navigate the river using a compass on his face mask. The river was a torrent: he battled powerful currents, crawling along the muddy river floor. He got caught in whirlpools; slammed against rocks. 

When he finally surfaced, he discovered that the current had dragged him far beyond the rendezvous point on the Laotian shore, where Keo was to be waiting, disguised as a fisherwoman.

It was too dangerous for him to walk on that shore, and so he was forced to swim back to the Thai side, walk several miles further upstream and try it again.  

This time, after another grueling swim, he came to the surface just upstream of the spot and drifted right to it. But now it was late! When he crawled up onto the bank, Keo was not there. In great anguish, John took the risk of crying out for her at the top of his lungs! Keo heard it and came running back. The two of them embraced right there on the riverbank. 

But now the real work began: because Keo couldn't swim! And so John Everingham, in a frantic race against time, put a life-vest around her neck and his regulator in her mouth and literally pushed her into the river! 

In an exhausting ordeal that seemed to last forever, John Everingham literally "towed" his bride across the raging Mekong! Stroke after stroke and fighting for their lives, he pulled his bride through the vicious currents to the safety of the other side: Thailand at last, where she would be his bride forever! 

Isn't it beautiful? 

Do you know where I see the parallel here? In Christ, who is coming for you dear ones! That day on the Cross, He loved us and made us His own! But now, here we are in this turbulent world, cut off and threatened by the raging currents of our time. And the question we all wrestle with now, as the current swells and the chaos rises is: Is there any hope? Any good news? 

Oh, there is, dear ones! Wonderful Good News! And hope that will not fail you! Your Savior is coming! Coming to rescue His Bride! Nothing will stand in His way when He comes and He will get you safely to the other side! 

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. The dead in Christ will rise first, and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." 1 Thes 4: 16-17 

I find great hope in that; how about you?

 

See you Sunday!                               RAS

Advent 2020
Pray and Don’t Give Up!