My Favourite Stories #93

Caught In a Deadly Maze – part 2.

Gary was racked with guilt and regret. By abandoning their emergency supplies they had violated a basic tenet of spelunking. Guilt and regret are the end products of a life of sin. Mankind abandoned his emergency supplies when he left the Word of God behind in the darkness and headed out on his own. 

Finally, Gary spoke, “Are you two OK?” In response Buddy and Tim’s voices were reassuringly strong. “Yeah, we’re all right,” but Tim added, “When do you think we’ll get out of here?”

“They should find our ute by Wednesday, then they will send cavers in to find us.” (Today was Monday lunch time.) Then a dark thought struck him. The ute had been left alone on a deserted highway overnight. The Ute could easily have been stolen. If that happened, then they would vanish without a trace. No one knew exactly where they were. They had told his brother Jim that they would be at Linda’s parents’ house by Thursday, but they could not hold out until then.

Our greatest danger is hypothermia, “He told Buddy and Tim. “We need to conserve our body heat.” They sat quietly in the darkness, and eventually dozed off. The night passed slowly and in the morning their mouths were dry, and they were shivering. By noon their stomachs were growling. Gary, knowing their despair couldn’t help but say, “Hopefully this is our last day here.” As they shivered in the damp air, they longed desperately for the water of life. This is the world’s greatest need.

On Wednesday afternoon a resident reported an abandoned pick up on the highway. A license check revealed Gary Lutes name and address. At 3pm a police officer went to Gary’s house. A neighbour told him they were on holiday.

Gary’s voice became hoarse, and he was experiencing severe chest pains. By evening he was too weak to sit up. “If I don’t make it through the night,” he told the boys, “Take my shirt. It’ll help you keep warm.” Buddy and Tim started to cry. Gary added painfully, “I love you so much. I’m sorry I got you into this mess.” Buddy hugged his father tightly. “It’s not your fault,” he sobbed. “You’re the best dad in the world,” Tim added, his voice breaking, “You can’t die!” Gary slumped back onto the cold rock, the boys lay on each side.

On Thursday morning Buddy woke with a start and reached out fearfully. “You OK dad?” “I’m right here son.” The two boys hugged their father. The three of them were trembling from weakness as well as cold. Each time they swallowed their tongues rasped against the roof of their mouth.

Late Thursday afternoon the Police decided the Lutes must be in trouble and they called the Speleological Society and learned that Gary was a long-term member. They asked the cavers to find as much information on him as they could. Meanwhile Tim and Buddy were hallucinating. Gary, on the verge of despair tried to recall Bible verses and used them as prayers.

Thursday night passed in delirium; they were so clogged with dust that they coughed continually. By late Friday afternoon they all sensed that any rescue effort would now be too late. Like every one of us, they were doomed to die. Buddy asked, “Dad what will it be like to die?” Gary searched for the right words, “Hypothermia will make us warm and sleepy at first. Then we will slowly lose consciousness and eventually our hearts will stop. “What then?” Tim asked. “The next thing you’ll know is Jesus will be coming in the clouds. Then you will be in paradise, no more thirst, no more darkness. The four of us, we and your mother will be together.” They embraced each other, stretched out on the rock, heedless of the cold.

By 6pm Friday, word had spread through a network of cavers that a fellow explorer was missing. Within 3 hours cavers began to assemble on the hillside where there were three caves. By 12:30am three men had penetrated 100 metres into the maze and had spotted the nylon pack. After repeated shouts by 1:00am they began to dread what they might find.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 says the voice of the Archangel will descend from the clouds with a shout and raise the dead.  Isaiah 25:7-9 centuries before Christ had told us “There he will remove the cloud of gloom, the shadow of death that hangs over the earth. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears… In that day the people will proclaim, “This is our God! We trusted in him, and he saved us!” NLT. Soon he will restore Earth to its former place amongst the council chambers of heaven. Soon the God-man and His accompanying angels shall sweep from the stars and draw the curtain on this world’s rebellion.

Gary half awoke. Hearing his name being called he assumed it was another hallucination. Next to him Tim and Buddy slowly stirred. Tim sat up and with a gasp cried, “We’re over here!” His excited response roused the others and together they joined in the hoarse shouting of the redeemed. “Lo, this is our God, we will rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah declared.

Minutes later their rescuers’ head lamps pierced the darkness like the glory of the 100,000 million angels that will fill the shy at the second coming. This will be accompanied by the splendor of the eternal Son of Righteousness. Illuminated by the lights the three figures were seen to be thickly coated with black dust. “Thank God,” Gary whispered.

They were all treated for severe dehydration and nerve damage from a lack of circulation. Buddy also had a collapsed lung.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 NLT)

  • Sharyl
    Posted at 06:38h, 29 June Reply

    Great story and I loved the accompanying application

    • Ross Chadwick
      Posted at 05:57h, 30 July Reply

      Thanks Sharyl

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