Parachuting Rescuers

Margaret Holder was born in China to missionary parents with China Inland Mission.

In 1939, when Japan took control of eastern China, thirteen-year-old Margaret was imprisoned in a
Japanese internment camp.

There she remained, separated from her parents, for six years.

Margaret told us stories about a man called

“Uncle Eric.”

He tutored her and was deeply loved by all the children in the camp.

“Uncle Eric” was Eric Liddell,

“The Flying Scot,” hero of the movie Chariots of Fire.

Liddell shocked the world by refusing to run the one hundred meters in the 1924 Paris Olympics, a race he was favored to win.

He withdrew because the qualifying heat was on a Sunday.

Liddell won a gold medal.
He broke a world record in the four hundred meters, not his strongest event.

Later he went as a missionary to China.
When war broke out, he sent his pregnant wife and his daughters to safety.

Imprisoned by the Japanese, he never saw his family in this world again.

Suffering with a brain tumor,
Eric Liddell died in 1945, shortly
after his forty-third birthday.

Through fresh tears, Margaret told us:

“It was a cold February day when
Uncle Eric died.”

At times it seemed unbearable to be
cut off from their homes and families.

But Margaret spoke with delight of
care packages falling from the sky
barrels of food and supplies dropped from American planes.

One day Margaret and the other children were lined up as usual to
count off for roll call.

Suddenly an American airplane flew low.

They watched it circle and drop more
of those wonderful food barrels.

But as the barrels came near the ground, the captives realized
something was different.

This time the barrels had legs!

The sky was full of American soldiers, parachuting down to rescue them.

Margaret and several hundred children rushed out of the camp, past Japanese guards who offered no resistance.

Free for the first time in six years,
they ran to the soldiers that were raining down everywhere.

They threw themselves on their rescuers, hugging and kissing them.

Imagine the children’s joy.

Imagine the soldiers’ joy.

God rejoices in the grace He offers us as much as we rejoice in receiving it.

Whether it’s Jesus returning from the sky to liberate us,

or Jesus, drawing us to Himself
through our deaths,

we will be rescued and at last reunited with loved ones who’ve gone before us.

We’ll be taken home.

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