Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rescue

Last week at Destino, we had a team visiting from a church in Texas. The leader of the team was a youth pastor, and he led a conference for our 7th-11th grade students while they were here, which was a fun time of learning (for them and for me!). The pastor, Jordan, shared two big Bible stories: that of Joshua, and of Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Reflecting on these stories, the Lord led me to one major theme: His rescue of His people. 

In the story of Joshua, the people are once again at the bank of a river, during the flood season no less, and needing to cross. So just as with Moses and the Red Sea, God parted the Jordan River so the Israelites could cross and take possession of the Promised Land. I think about how incredibly miraculous it would be to stand on the bank of that river and watch the priests walk forward in faith, carrying the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders, and seeing the river immediately stop flowing as soon as their feet touched the edge of the water. What an incredible sight to see!


Then in the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we see them willing to stand firm in their convictions of not worshiping any idol, even under the threat of being thrown in the fiery furnace. I hae always loved their response to the King in Daniel 3:16-18:

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, 
“King Nebuchadnezzar, 
we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 
 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, 
the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, 
and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  
But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, 
that we will not serve your gods 
or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Can you imagine their courage? I'm sure we have all had the thought at some point, "What if God doesn't rescue me from this?", and that's usually the moment I start to take things into my own hands, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego left it in the hands of God. They must have had that "peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Philippians 4:7). And in the end, God not only miraculously rescued them, without "a hair of their heads singed" (Daniel 3:27), but He also was present in the fire with them (Daniel 3:25).

When you walk through the fire, 
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
Isaiah 4:32c

And then there is the story of Daniel being thrown into the lions' den for praying to God, rather than the King, and God sends His angel to shut the mouths of the lions so that Daniel would not be hurt (Daniel 6:22).



All three of these stories show God's miraculous rescue of His people. And there are many more in the Bible that make you stop and say, "Wow!" But then there are some stories of rescue in the Bible that don't really seem like a rescue. The story of Jonah comes to mind.

Jonah, running from God's call, got on a boat in the opposite direction to flee from the Lord. While out on the sea, the Lord sent a terrible storm, which led to all the sailors crying out to their gods and trying to lighten the ship. When it comes to light that Jonah is the reason for the storm, he suggests they throw him overboard into the sea, and when they did, the sea immediately was calm.

Then the Bible says that "the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah" (Jonah 1:17) and three days later "the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land" (Jonah 2:10). This doesn't seem like that great a rescue. I mean Lord, part the sea, save me from the fire, don't let the lions eat me, but swallowed by a fish and then spit up three days later? Um, no thanks.

But without that fish, Jonah would have been dead. He was stupid enough to run from the Lord (and let's be honest, we all have at some point) so the Lord SENT the storm, which caused Jonah to be thrown overboard and swallowed by the fish He PROVIDED, and then He COMMANDED the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry ground. Jonah's rescue may not have been as flashy as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's or Daniel's, but it was still a rescue. Without those three days to think in the belly of the fish, would Jonah have repented and changed his ways? Maybe not, only the Lord knows.

The point of this super long post is that whatever situation we are in, God can rescue us from it, even if we don't necessarily want or think we need a rescue. I know I have experienced some moments of rescue in my life that have felt truly miraculous, like when I hydroplaned and totaled my car, but walked out without a scratch or any soreness. But I have also experienced times of rescue that didn't really feel like a rescue at the time, much like Jonah. A rescue from something I thought I wanted, that God knew wasn't best for me, and although the rescue was forced, and maybe a little painful at the time, I can look back now and see how God was really rescuing me from myself, and I think Jonah would probably say the same.

So now I say thank you God, for the situations you have "vomited" me out of, and I trust your plan of rescue, no matter what it looks like in my life. 


Alexa
al02846@georgiasouthern.edu

1 comment:

  1. Great perspective. Thanks for sharing. I'll have to think on my times of rescue.

    ReplyDelete