Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How God Rescued My Family

Last week I told you how we have been ruined--how God has so challenged and changed us that we will never, ever, be the same. Much of the ruining came through struggle, and I mentioned that we have wounds that may never heal. This statement was shocking to some, yet, I do not see it as entirely negative. Even the resurrected Christ, though fully alive, still bore scars on his hands and his side. To be ruined is to be just a little bit more like Jesus, and as one of my favorite cousins remarked, "I pray that I be ruined for Christ also. Nothing else satisfies." Indeed. Nothing else. 

But in many ways, ruining us was also a way of rescuing us. He has not rescued us from embarrassment or sickness or financial ruin. All of those he has allowed us to bear to some extent. Instead he has rescued us from complacency, from superficiality, and from autonomy. He has rescued us from the rat race, from keeping up with the Joneses, and from envy. He has rescued us from ourselves. And he keeps on rescuing us as we follow him each day.

This rescue has little to do with moving to France, though that happened to be part of the rescue mission that God used in our lives. God’s rescue has much to do with surrender, and being willing to leave those things in life that appear to be friendly but in reality, are hostile. Hostile to God’s kingdom, hostile to God’s people, and hostile to God’s plan. They’re subtle little buggers, and probably take a different form for each person, but I’m sure they exist in your life, too.

How can you tell if you have dangerous liaisons? Do you hold anything back from God? If you do, that thing has a hold on you and you need to be freed from it. Do you cherish self-righteousness or indignation? I know I do. But God is showing me that these emotional pacifiers are wicked cancers from which I need to be rescued. Do you live like a Lone Ranger, taking care of yourself and proud of it?  This type of independence is at odds with God’s call to interdependence. You need a rescue.

I loved my autonomy, until God rescued me by placing me in a community. I was driven to achieve personal success, until God showed me that building his kingdom was much more enjoyable than building my kingdom. I was firm in my understanding of things like politics and economics, until God rescued me from my own world-view to show me his world-view. Now I’m more confused than ever about how to vote, but more sure than ever about how to live.

God rescues us because we can’t rescue ourselves. But his way of rescue rarely looks like the primrose path. The way out of our own lost-ness is often a way that is fraught with thorns and mud puddles. The rescue wagon appears unsafe, and many will call you crazy for getting on board. But in the upside-down kingdom of the servant king, I promise that his rescue is worth it. 

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