Friday, April 29, 2011


We are about to wrap up a series here in Trinity Church entitled Rescue - God's Story of Life from Death.  It has been a great time of remembering the gospel.

In our small group this week, we were discussing and defining the word rescue. Since this was our first gathering, to help us to get to know each other, our group leader asked us all to share our own rescue stories. It was such an encouraging time to hear how God has and is working in the lives of my friends.  One person shared that there has been more rescue and growth in the last year than ever before. I love that!

On the way home from group I was contemplating rescue accounts and I remembered the following story.

Several years ago Mike and I had hit a really rough place in life and the Lord worked it out for us to live for about a year with some of the most gracious and generous friends I think I'll ever have, Amy and Shawn. During this year there, Amy's parents lived and traveled in an RV and from time to time would come and stay in Amy's back yard as the opportunity afforded. Amy had two small children and her parents, Nanny and Poppy, just took our Lucy in as one of their own granddaughters. What a blessing!

One particular evening we were all hanging out in the living room. Being the young moms Amy and I were, our conversation led to parenting.  Nanny told us a story that I don't think I'll ever forget. She and a large group of extended family were at some sort of fair or amusement park. They all decided to ride on a big ferris wheel that had large gondola bucket seats. For what ever reason, in the impulse of the moment, all the adults decided to ride in one gondola and allowed all the kids to ride on a separate gondola. Alone. With out any adults.

I began holding my breath as I listened.

As the ride took off, everyone was enjoying themselves and having a big time looking over the horizon and loving the wind in their faces. About half way around the ride stopped to exchange riders. When it did, Nanny looked over to the gondola with all the kids. Before her eyes was a scene that would terrify anyone, let alone a mother.  There, across the sky was her child standing up on the seat and peering over the side of the bucket. Panic struck her heart and every horrible thought possible came plunging through her mind. I could hardly wait for her to finish talking!

She frantically screamed at her child to sit back down in her seat but it was to no avail. The distance was too great and the kids were completely self engulfed. It was in this moment, she said, she realized the total impossibility of the situation because there was absolutely nothing that she could do. She could not reach her with her hands. She could not reach her with her voice. She had no power over the giant machine. She was out of control in every way possible and completely at the mercy of God.

She said she took a breath and prayed. She surrendered herself and precious child to God alone and experienced the most tender grace and God's incomparable rescue. She needed mercy for her daughter's safety and she needed rescue from her own insanity. She had to release this child that she loved immeasurably into the hands of Jesus. She told us that He reminded her that He loved that child even more than she and that they both were in His hands.

To close the story, her daughter (I think it was Amy's older sister) sat down and the ride concluded without a mortal tragedy; at least in her daughter's body! Haha. But Nanny continued to share with Amy and I the lesson Jesus used in that moment to teach her about her own lack of real control and what it really means to trust Jesus and live in his rescue.

What a parallel to life that event was. Just like Nanny, we are without control in every way to enter what the Bible describes as real life, abundant life. I can't act right enough. I can't speak or think right enough, I have no real power over more things than I care to admit. And the thing I love most, my own flesh and blood, and I mean me, is often oblivious. Standing at the edge of danger, peering unaware.

But it's in those moments like Nanny experienced, when life grabs you by the throat and your realize that control is a myth; these are the moments that Jesus is ever present. These are the moments where he surrounds us with his grace and peace like the wind wrapped around Nanny's face high in the air. These are the teaching moments where he shows us that the life he offers, real life, is meant to be lived out with the faith like a child. Ever trusting that He knows best, trusting that He is in control.

When we release ourselves to him fully and trust Him with everything we hold dear, what we find is that He is the safe place. We find a Father who loves us more than we love ourselves and is taking us on the ride of our lives to show us horizons we never dreamed existed.  We find He is trustworthy. And faithful. We find a relief from the thing that plagues us most, ourselves. We find that surrender to Him really is the only way to move from death to life.

We find we've been rescued.

He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me. - Psalm 18:19

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