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Hope on a Rope

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

Exodus 14:13–16

I led them with cords of human kindness, with rope of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.

Hosea 11:4

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The final rescue scene in the documentary has a way of searing itself into our imagination and memory. A woman, named Iman, shot days before, lies nearly dead in open rubble under the scorching sun. She lifts her hand and quietly calls for help from the Free Burma Rangers. Dave realizes that rescuing her will likely reveal to the ruthless ISIS soldiers the hidden position of the Rangers, and all the wounded people they are carrying to safety. Understandably, his first prayer is that God takes her life. But God intends to bring hope where there is none: his hope comes in the form of a rope. We can learn four things about finding hope when we are in a hopeless situation…

Ask for help. Iman asks for help. So does Dave as he prays, “God help, in Jesus’ name!” Sometimes a situation seems so bleak that we forget to even ask others and God for help. Earlier in the scene, Dave says, “Either God is the God who parted the Red Sea or he’s not.” He refers to when Moses and the Israelites had just escaped Egypt and found themselves in an impossible situation, jammed between an ensuing Egyptian army and the deep Red Sea. Through Moses, God assures the desperate Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Ex 14:13–14)

Let God make a way where there seems to be no way. No sooner have they asked for help then God opens their eyes to see wire that can function as a rescue rope. A little girl runs behind the wall to give it to Iman. Dave provides commentary: “The power of evil is so great. [When we are] at the limit of our courage and ability and it’s not enough… we call on Jesus’ name and he comes right through for us and finds a solution and brings good out of it.” And so, for Iman, the Red Sea parts—as it will for us too when we are at our wits end and call on God for help.

Hope is found by calling on Jesus’ name. In the making of the film, Dave decided that it would be best to include not only the heroic actions of the Rangers but also their desperate prayers to Jesus. At first he nervously imagines a non-Christian person watching their praying and saying that they are merely religious nutcases. But then he decides that it is worth it, “for someday they are going to be in trouble and say, ‘I have got no rope, I wonder if [calling on Jesus’ name] will work.’”

It’s true—Jesus is the ultimate source of hope (and rope). This applies not only when we find ourselves in impossible circumstances, but also in the way God initially saves us. Like Iman, we cannot save ourselves, but we can call on the name of Jesus and wrap his rope of blood-bought salvation around our hand—and let him draw us right into his loving arms with his “cord of kindness and rope of love.” (Hos 11:4)

REFLECT

  • Have you ever experienced God providing hope in a seemingly hopeless situation? 
  • When last did you rejoice in your own salvation—the way God drew you to himself through “his cord of kindness and rope of love”?
  • If you need hope in a seemingly hopeless situation today–why not pray like Dave did, “God, help, in Jesus’ Name!”

More

Greater Love

In the documentary’s most nail-biting and heart-stopping scene, Dave is exposed to the murderous fire of ISIS snipers as he seeks to rescue a little girl named Suria who is out in the open, sitting beside the mother she has just lost. Dave’s courageous act of love can inspire the way we love and serve others in several ways.

Trust God

The Free Burma Rangers are not just motivated by love—they are also carried along by faith. They are “sure of what [they] hope for and certain of what [they] do not see.” (Heb 11:1) Their faith can inspire our own in at least four ways…

Crossing Lines

Birds of a feather tend to flock together. We tend to build relationships with, and prefer to serve people, like ourselves. But Jesus came to mix things up—leading his people to cross geographic, cultural, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic lines for the sake of community and service. The first century world was as divided as our own, yet God’s Spirit brought about spiritual community between “Jews … Gentiles … Scythians.” (Col 3:11)

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