We all need a rescue from time to time.
In fact, you may need one right now, and that’s why you’re reading this. You may be desperate to be delivered from your hard circumstance. Or you may be desperate to be delivered from the sorrow, hopelessness, or depression that came with it. I know how you feel. There have been times I am so sick of being blind that I cry out to God to heal me. And there are even more times when I cry out to God to deliver me from my deep frustration or despair, because sometimes that feels even more debilitating than my blindness. My friend Mandisa captured this kind of desperation perfectly in her song “My Deliverer.”
I was so helpless, where did the light go?
I had no hope left deep down in my soul.
I was watchin’, I was waitin’, I was prayin’.
Could you sing those lyrics along with her with conviction? We’ve all felt that way before – that we want God to pull us out of our darkness and bring us safely into the light again. The book of Psalms includes many such prayers asking God for deliverance:
- In Your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me. (Psalm 71:2)
- Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! (Psalm 25:20)
- Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me! (Psalm 40:13)
- But You, Sovereign LORD, help me for Your name’s sake; out of the goodness of Your love, deliver me. (Psalm 109:21)
The psalmists appealed to God for deliverance because they knew of His great power and compassion. But they also felt confident in asking for deliverance because God Himself had made a promise: “Call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor Me” (Psalm 50:15). That seems pretty straightforward: You call; I deliver. Easy, right? So why doesn’t it work like that?
If what God says is true, why do we find ourselves in dark places, feeling helpless and longing for deliverance? If God does care and if He has the power to do something about it, why doesn’t He deliver us like He promised? Or does He?
The fact is, sometimes the way God keeps His promises is painful for us. But His ways of deliverance are time-tested by people who have gone before us, and maybe a few of their stories will help to clarify and bring comfort. These folks who walked through the pages of the Bible know God’s deliverance. Maybe you will see your story in their stories.
God delivered King Hezekiah from his sickbed (Isaiah 38). King Hezekiah was a very sick man and was wasting away on his deathbed. He cried out to God for deliverance and healing. God healed. Hezekiah was delivered from his illness through healing.
God delivered the three Hebrew young men through the fire (Daniel 3:16-28). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a furnace of raging fire because they refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar. Their punishment was death by fiery furnace. But witnesses saw a miraculous sight – not only were the men not burned; they were walking around in the fire! And then there appeared a fourth man among them, whom onlookers described as a “son of the gods.” Those brave men came out of the fire without even the smell of smoke on their garments. They were delivered through the fire.
God delivered Stephen out of his stoning and into heaven (Acts 7:54-60). The good news of Jesus Christ was stirring up some bad blood among Jewish religious leaders. Stephen was caught in the conflict, falsely accused of heresy, and ultimately dragged outside the city to be stoned by a mob. As he was pelted by stones, Stephen asked Christ to receive his spirit. He died as a result of a horrific stoning. God took him out of that terror and into His presence.
Perhaps you have endured something so awful that you are weeping right now just thinking about it and wondering why God let it happen.
Maybe the fact you’re reading this right now is an indication that God is still in the process of delivering you. He is delivering you through it for a purpose higher than living in bitterness or fear. He is delivering you through it because He cares deeply for you. But His compassion really does come in tough packages sometimes. I wish I knew all the answers. The one thing I do know is this: God does deliver, and when we can’t understand His methods, we must choose to trust His character.
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Are you in the middle of being delivered through something painful and confusing? Have you been delivered from or out of a circumstance in your past? Come join the conversation and share your thoughts about God’s loving, faithful deliverance in your own story.