"Don't give up; please don't give up." Those were the words uttered in the mind of a dying man but never heard outside his head. And for 45 minutes, two flight attendants didn't. They took turns administering CPR on the man's heart and alternately breathing air into his lungs. 45 minutes of either futility or life support - no one knew. All they knew was, the man had had a heart attack and stopped breathing while on a flight, and the pilot had radioed the nearest airport, but it took 45 minutes to go through the whole landing procedure.
45 minutes, sometimes sliding along the floor as the plane lurched upon impact. The landing was rough, but the women kept on. Sometimes tempted to quit, but never yielding. An emergency medical team met the plane in the airport, and with the proper machines, they were able to get a strong pulse and revive the man.
How do I know this? One of those flight attendants was my wife. It's one of her most memorable moments as a flight attendant, her job when I met her. And as she and her co-worker came off the plane they were greeted by applause from the passengers who waited for them so they could show their appreciation. It was Marti's fantasy come true. The only thing missing was the six o'clock news.
But the most remarkable thing about this story was what she found out later. She found out that the whole time they were keeping him alive, the man was semi-conscious. He could hear everything; he just couldn't open his eyes or speak. And the whole time he kept thinking, "Don't give up on me; please don't give up."
We all have spiritually resistant friends and relatives who appear, for all we know, to be spiritually dead. We might assume them to be in the category that Paul described as those who are not being saved, but are perishing. And yet how do we know for sure that they might not be only spiritually comatose - unable to speak, but still crying out from some place deep inside: "Don't give up on me; please don't give up."
That's why you never give up on anyone. Even the most resistant, obnoxious, foul-mouthed unbeliever might still be one who, deep down inside, is being saved. Don't give up on them. Spiritually breathe for them. Right up until the very end, because you never know.
The Catch, © 9/22/2011 by John Fischer