Monday, May 22, 2017

Rescue me

I was never a good swimmer.  But when I was invited to a friend’s pool party, I begged my mom to go.  The pool looked mammoth to me and all I needed to know was which side was the shallow side.  The safe side. So that’s where I parked myself.  But after a while, I noticed I was the only one at that end of the pool.  The other girls were experienced swimmers and were bouncing around in the deep end.

Longing to fit in as much as possible, I was determined to somehow get to the other side. I carefully navigated my way across  by tip toeing on a narrow ledge along the perimeter of the pool.  I used it to make the journey over to the deep end, and I felt pretty satisfied for making it there successfully.  Then my foot slipped.  I felt my body slowly drift just far enough from the edge of the pool where the security of the ledge disappeared.  Suddenly, I had nothing to hold on to that would keep me safely attached to the edge of the pool.  I tried hard to keep my head above the water, but I felt myself panic and I began sinking.  There was nothing I could do, and there was nothing to keep me from going down.

One of my arms was above the water line, and suddenly I felt someone grab hold of it.  A girl, who was walking along the deck, grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the edge of the pool.  I was able to inhale and tried to remain composed.  Completely shaken and scared, I reflected on what had just happened.  I was filled with thanks as I quickly exited the pool.  Whoever that girl was, she rescued me.

How often do we hear the word rescue?  Maybe not that often, but when we do, we pay attention.  We like stories about rescue.  There is joy and hope in rescue, and often there is a hero in the story.  Recently, I was challenged to think of rescue in my life.  The challenge?  How do I apply rescue in my life as I interact with others?  By that I mean, how do I carry out Jesus’ mission and purpose by being his hands and feet?  By rescuing others with love, compassion and care?  How do I care?  Do I care?  Do I care for those different from myself?  For those who are bruised and broken?

I asked God to show me how to rescue, but as the days passed and the idea of rescue began to take shape in my thoughts, I didn’t know how to make it happen.  All I knew was that I felt convicted and wondered how God could use me in my small world.  My very small world.  I don’t have a big circle, but God does.  Rescue.  What could that look like?

Then it hit me.  Before I could ever be used by God, I would need him to rescue ME.  To rescue me from my “safe” life.  The part of my life that is comfortable and simple.  From the side that doesn’t have the courage to think like Jesus.  The side of me that retreats from what is going on outside my circle, because it’s just hard to think outside that space.  How could I possibly “rescue” if I was just hanging out in a place that feels safe?

And so, in my prayers, I ask God for wisdom and understanding.  I seek intimacy with Christ so that I can be rescued from myself.  I seek a relationship that is real. Make it real.  Make it real, Lord so that I can be real.  So that I can be used to rescue.  Maybe I’ll be the one who notices someone in distress and is able to grab their hand and bring them to a place where they can see the face of God.  A place where reflection can take place and where a deep breath of his grace and mercy can be taken.

Recently, my friend Ann shared this scripture with me...(thank you, Ann!)

John 14:4-12
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?   When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.  And you know the way to where I am going.”

“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.  If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?  Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.  Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.  You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

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