Rescued to Rescue (Day 5)
Charge the Dungeons
I heard a story once about a place called Cape Coast Castle. Located in central Ghana, this old castle was originally used for trading, and then as a fort — but during the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, it was used to house slaves while they awaited transport to the New World.
Dungeons were added beneath this building where up to 1,500 slaves could be kept at one time for as long as three months. Hundreds were crammed into tiny rooms … chained and forced to lie in their own urine and feces for months. Can you imagine the smells and the absolutely horrific conditions?
Today, Cape Coast Castle is a tourist attraction. And as one of the tour guides led a group through the dungeons, he told them something that I have not been able to forget. “Guess what is right above these dungeons?” he asked. “A chapel!”
Think about that. A chapel. A place of worship was right above those horrible dungeons. So, while hundreds were held captive, people in the chapel above probably sang, prayed, read Scripture, and perhaps even took an offering for the less fortunate. And all the while there was unspeakable suffering right beneath them.
Then the guide said, “Heaven was above — but hell was below.”
I believe there are still many dungeons here on earth — dungeons of poverty, dungeons of disease, dungeons of slavery, abuse, fear, and hopelessness.
And as people of faith, we can’t be numb and blind to the suffering all around us. We need to go into the dungeons — reach into the dungeons of this world — embrace the dungeons of the world — charge into the dungeons of the world — until the dungeons become the church. That is what our lives should be all about.
Isn’t that what redemption and rescue mean? We, who were once broken, lost, and desperate for help, can now help to rescue and restore others.
As people of faith, rescue is what we do. It’s who we are. It’s what we should be all about.
I believe that God is calling us to restore hope … we’ve been rescued so that we can now rescue. The same God who rescued me, can rescue you.