when you need a real rescue

Platitudes wouldn’t be enough.

I knew the conversation was S.O.S. caliber before it started, judging by the CAPS in the text message.

“AH! I’m just so frustrated, but it’ll be okay,” she said, when I got her on the line.

She was giving me the litany of reasons the day had unraveled and all of them were legitimate. This friend of mine is not one to over-dramatize anything, so when she says she is, “frustrated” and that “this is so hard” out loud… it’s getting desperate.

She knows.

She knows God is good and that’s why she followed her frustration so quickly with, “… but it’ll be okay.” She knows God’s character of faithfulness and that He is trustworthy. She believes it, too. But…

Sometimes we need to speak the depth of our drowning so we know to cry out for a real rescue.

We need to open our eyes underwater and see how desperate the situation in order to delight rightly in our rescue from those depths. It’s not enough to say “it’ll be okay,” even if we know it will.

Because that flippant faith doesn’t give God enough glory. He is God when we are desperate – not because our trials are little things, but because they are big. He knows all the thousands things that went wrong in our day and how desperate they have made us. He doesn’t want us to brush them aside with a simple, “… but it’ll be okay.”

Minimizing problems with platitudes does not glorify God’s magnificence.

Being honest about the depth of our drowning means being honest that we need a real rescue. A real rescue – not the kind that gives you a quote or a margarita at the end of a long day. Those will never pull you up from desperate depths.

Nope, an S.O.S. like I got last night is an opportunity for us to believe God to be faithful to reach as far down as our day has gone. And she did. She spoke out her need and called out for real rescue. She stepped into the kind of belief that makes God seem the glorious Rescuer He is. He will rescue, when we believe Him for it. 

My friend remembered Wesley Hill’s words recently in a lecture at Bethlehem Baptist, “Ignoring is not the path to redeeming.”

When we have sin and struggle and stress and sadness, our redemption will always come by way of an honest assessment that we are drowning and in need of a real rescue.

mid-life: exchanging crisis for calling

When I left for college, I thought I was joining the ranks of “students” – a thoughtful army my parents had already been a part of and had since graduated from. I was going off to learn so I could approach “real life” with the right information, equipped with the tools for a career. I thought that being a student was a phase and not just in an academic sense.

My growing up years are replete with examples of spiritual mentors and faithful witnesses who crowded around to pour light and truth into my self-centered soul. In many ways, I looked up to these folks because they had been through the “student” phase and seemed to still have their wits about them on the other side. Not that they ever encouraged my thinking that they had “made it,” but in my ignorance I believed them to have arrived somewhere I hoped to soon be.

As it turns out, God never intended us to stop learning (please, no jokes about it taking me years to figure this out).

This is part of our sanctification – humbly adopting the title of student. When we stop pressing on to know the Lord in a deeper way, we have said “I know it all,” which is nothing less than a lie. God has designed the refining process to draw us into a greater knowledge of Him, a greater dependence on Him, and a greater satisfaction in Him. Being a lifelong student is the best kind of blessing there is when your subject is the Creator of the universe!

I remember having conversations with my parents while I was in college and many more since, where I shared inspiration about the light bulbs turning on in my head. Their responses were not, “Mmmhmm. Good, glad you’re learning that” but rather, “Now, that’s interesting. I wonder if that also applies…”

A giant light switched on when I realized I was learning WITH my parents and not to catch up to them.

I’ve never seen their pursuit look so different from the world then right now. When their peers look for worldly pleasures and social science studies reveal what they should be doing and desiring, they are venturing into wildly unknown territory.

Because they love their Lord and treasure Him, they are exchanging a mid-life crisis for a mid-life calling. Yesterday, they officially invited Sadie and Sierra into our family and into their home. Their bags had been packed for two weeks, before they even knew the destination. Yesterday they moved into the room above the kitchen I called my own for several years of high school. And now I’ll call them sisters.

Sadie and Sierra getting cozy in their new room (my old room)

As my parents are clinging to promises they have taught and studied for years, they are challenged to believe the promises hold power enough to be strong when they feel weak. And I’m sure they feel weak and ill-equipped and even awkward about the transition, but there they are in the midst of it.

I can’t tell you how much my love for them has grown as I watch them lean into the Lord. And as I see the Lord sustain and sanctify them, I can’t help but love Him more as well. What a beautiful Savior who looks after the lost and lonely and finds them refuge.

My heart is full for these two young ladies who will change our family forever. I can hardly wait for thanksgiving to come so I can count them as blessings around our family’s abundant table.

let LOVE fly like cRaZy

See the first in this mid-life series: the opposite of mid-life crisis as I look at what it means to always be in the life development stage called “sanctification.”