Those of you with a strong stomach may have seen the photo of my husband’s foot on Facebook this week, and so you’ll know he was in an accident on Wednesday while moving a boat that had been donated to Overland Missions. There’s a part to the story that few people know about, but that captured me from the moment I arrived on the scene. I was at the office when my colleague Richelle brought me the news that David had been hurt while on the boat and was on his way to the hospital. With only pieces of the story to go by at that point, other than knowing nothing was life-threatening, I was unaware of how the accident had taken place.
Richelle drove me to the part of the river where David was being carried out by medics; the first people I saw were two very dear friends of David and I’s, and key people in the Overland family, Phil Madison and his wife Debbie. As Phil hugged me I noticed he was soaking wet, so I asked him if he’d been swimming. He said casually that he’d swum out to help bring David in. Later when I digested the full story I learned how Phil had swum and waded 1/2 a mile out into the river to where David was stranded on the boat, on which the motor had broken down. Once he reached David, and his by then heavily bleeding feet, he took the rope from the boat and turned to swim and wade the 1/2 mile back to shore, towing the boat behind him.
Is he a hero in this story? Undoubtedly, although I know he’d baulk at my saying so, insisting he’d have done it for anyone (which is entirely true). But the fact remains, he’s a hero! Over the last few days I’ve been mulling over the lengths Phil went to in making sure David was safe and I can’t get away from this verse in scripture, ‘This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.‘ John 15: 12, 13 NKJV. I do believe on Wednesday David and I saw a glimpse in the natural of what it looked like in the spiritual for Jesus to come to earth and give His life for us. It’s not everyday that it’s required of us to swim out to a river to pull someone in, let alone trade our lives for theirs. But the scripture remains true, and the commandment effective, so I’ve been asking myself these last couple of days, ‘What’s God asking me to lay down for the sake of my friends?’. A challenge to us all.