Leaving on a Jet Plane

Turmoil continues in Afghanistan as thousands try desperately to flee from that country in the wake of America's withdrawal and the Taliban's ascendency to power. Stories of hopelessness, abandonment, and real tragedy are being reported by the hour from that war-ravaged land.

But there is good news, too: Over the weekend 5,000 people were evacuated safely from the airport in Kabul. Well, make that 5,001.

An Afghani baby girl was born when the US C-17 aircraft landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Her mother had gone into labor, with complications, after take-off from Afghanistan. Soldiers tended to her, and the pilot descended in altitude to help with air pressure and to stabilize things onboard—probably saving the lives of mother and child. Upon landing in Germany, medics rushed on to deliver the baby in a cargo bay on the plane. Both of them are doing just fine now, I understand.

The little girl, especially.

She does not know it yet, but she just escaped, by the skin of her teeth, a brutal regime that has an extremely low view of females of any age. Under the Taliban, it's back to the way things were twenty years ago—no, really twenty centuries ago—for girls. They have no rights, no access to education, without the privileges of choosing a career or the way they will dress. And there will be no choices when it comes to marriage or religion either.

Now, by growing up in Europe or the United States, she will breathe the fresh air of freedom.

In the spiritual realm it also matters how and where you are born. Depending on the circumstances, a person could be bound in slavery to sin—a life of darkness and deprivation—all of his Iife. Or, crossing the border, he could experience the "abundant life" (John 10:10) of great liberty and unlimited possibility. Jesus called it being "born again" (John 3:1-7), and Paul wrote about being "translated from darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). This is a miracle of God's doing, and is accomplished by His grace, but one that He lets us help bring about for others.

Like those US service personnel, and the medics who actually delivered the child, we have the awesome privilege and responsibility of sharing our faith and introducing people to Jesus. And, like that pilot who changed the plane's altitude, of doing all we can to create an atmosphere of faith in our church and our home that is conducive for belief.

It really is a team approach that gets the job done.

I appreciated the message that Joel Harder brought to us on Sunday morning. It was good to see our friend again, and to hear what God had to say to us about ministry in the days ahead. He was making this very point. God alone can bring the miracle of new birth, but He invites us all participate by being mid-wives, medics, or simple guys off of the farm who see a need and rush in to fill it. Birthing babies the last thing on their minds when the plane first lifted off from the runway.

Image credit: AP/Shekib Rahmani

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