Nov
18

When God Doesn’t Rescue

By

Ever wondered why God would refuse to rescue you when you are going through the most difficult time of your life?

A few months ago, I found myself in the worst storm of my life.  The waters raged all around me.  They filled my boat.  The wind blew violently. The boat of my life creaked and groaned and at times, barely stayed afloat during the storm. The wind and water were thunderously loud. I could hear no voice above the noise. Many days, I was unable to even call Jesus’ name to ask for rescue. I felt so abandoned by God that I couldn’t even read my Bible because it felt so painful to look into the Word I had lived by, my most precious manna, and feel it had failed me.  I couldn’t listen to the music of worship because it reminded me of the intimacy I had once felt with God and other people I cared for. Prayer seemed impossible because I felt I no longer knew how – the ways I had prayed before must have been wrong or inadequate.  And many days, I felt so betrayed by God Himself that I was unsure whether or not He was a reality.

As my storm raged relentlessly around my life, God refused to rescue me. It seemed He was distant, cold, uncaring. I identified with Christ on the cross saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  I wanted to scream, “Why don’t you love me?  I am your daughter.  I am your servant.  I’ve tried to be faithful to you.  I’ve been praying endlessly.  I’ve felt the warfare.  I’ve fasted.  I’ve cried out to you.  I’ve stood on our covenant.  I’ve stood on the blood of Christ.  Why did you not answer me by saving me from this hell?  You have abandoned me!”

And still He was silent.  Had I built my life upon a lie?  I couldn’t even reach out for His hand in the intensity of the storm.

The storm has quietened now.  There are still some waters splashing around my feet.  At times, the water beats upon my face.  There are moments when the wind gusts again, but the eye of the storm has passed.

I can sleep again.  I can eat.  I can read my Bible and pray. I can worship again. I can believe again. I can smile and laugh.

And I have a peaceful understanding.  I see that in God’s refusal to rescue me from the storm, He was beginning the deepest work of my life. 

In Mark 4 we find Jesus had spent the day teaching many and explaining “all things” to his disciples.  What intimacy – to be in Jesus’ inner circle!  To get the inside scoop! The he invites his disciples to “cross over to the other side” with him. Perhaps a pre-planned test on the teaching they had received and believed?? Then we find this interesting phrase, “when they had left the multitude.” How often God must separate us from the people to teach us!  We are so easily influenced by the crowd.  I’m sure the disciples were kinda high on the experiences of the day and their special place with Jesus. Then they entered the boat, and again, how interesting that the scripture says, “they took Jesus along in the boat as he was.” Ever wondered what that means? Jesus gets into our boats on his own terms – just as he is.

Then the great windstorm arose and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling but Jesus was asleep on a pillow in the stern (the back – maybe I venture too far here, but Jesus is in the back allowing them to steer this boat in the storm).  Now the disciples were pretty ticked off.  They could stand it no longer.  They awakened him and said, “Teacher, (Like, I mean, you’re supposed to be our leader here!), do you not care that we are perishing?”

Jesus gets up, rebukes the wind and calms the sea and asks why they are afraid.  Then he asked another painful question, “How is it that you have NO faith?” And then, they are awestruck as they realize that don’t really have a clue about  who this “Teacher” really is.

So it was for me.  I found myself taking Jesus into my boat on a preplanned trip to the other side (his plan, not mine)  as he drew me away from the multitude of people who normally surrounded me. I knew I was one of his special ones.  I was a disciple.  He taught me. I spent time with him.  And we went on trips together.  Then, he rode with me into a fierce storm – totally unconcerned about the strength of my boat of faith.  He slept.  Finally, I awakened him with my screams, “Don’t you care that I am dying?” Eventually for me, not immediately, he rebuked the wind and calmed the sea and asked me painful questions.

“Mikki, why are you afraid?”

“Well, Jesus, you know, it’s like a terrible storm.  There is no hope.  You seem to have forgotten about me.  It’s seems that you are asleep on the job. In case you haven’t noticed, my boat is about to be torn asunder and it is sinking, too.”

 My heart is broken as he asks an even more painful question.

 “Mikki, why don’t you trust me?”

And hence, the reason he waited to rescue me.  There were some deeply rooted issues of fear and trust within my heart that needed to be addressed.  Yes, Jesus didn’t send this storm, but he knew it was coming.  He knew that after I got to the other side, I would be so much better – so much stronger.  I would know that my boat of faith is really that – my own boat. Not my husband’s or my church’s or my friends’. He knew that he was committed to the trip with me through the storm even when I couldn’t seem to find him, he was there. He knew that the painful questions would provide a path to healing in my innermost parts.

If it were up to me, would I choose such a storm again even when I knew it would be beautifully calm afterward?  No. No way.  Absolutely not.  Forget it. No religious answers from me. I am too human for such a level of trust and understanding. Yet, am I thankful for the work he has done in me and is continuing to do?  Yes, with all my heart.

And I find I am safe with him.  Safe to ask him difficult questions just as the disciples did.  I am loved even during the storms. I know more of his commitment to make me whole, to teach me how to receive more and more of his love. I see that he is secure in who he is.  Maybe that sounds strange, but I find that he has not been threatened by the intensity of my questions.  He just is who he is and knows I will find him somewhere in the storm. 

And even if just for today, (for I can’t say that I won’t fiercely question him again— and by the way, he wants us to trust him enough to engage him just as Jacob did when he wrestled with God), I can say, “Lord, I understand why you didn’t rescue me.”  I can’t truthfully thank him for it yet; it still hurts too badly.  But I can see that just as God had to turn away from Christ on the cross and allow Christ’s pain for the hope of humanity, when He turned away from me and allowed my pain, it was for my hope and perhaps for the hope of those who follow me as I follow Him.  May I never offer them a quick, easy gospel message that is not a true picture of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

You know, the rescue business is risky business. Christ gave his all to rescue me and you. We have to get into the danger zone to rescue others.  But as we learn in greater ways that he will faithfully rescue us in our storms at the right time, perhaps we will also learn how to rescue others.

Here is my list to ponder:

1. Understand there is a process God has preplanned for each life.
2. Be willing to teach others and get into the boats of their life.
3. Sleep when God says it is time to sleep. (You are not supposed to help until God says it is time.)
4. Awaken when God says it is time to help.
5. Keep your peace.
6. Be sure to look for the big picture.
7. Ask the difficult questions that will help others grow (if you can do it in love and with the right heart.)
8. Be ready to transition to the next place God takes you and those you minister to – the other side – knowing that all storms eventually end.

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Comments

  1. Dereise says:

    Mikii, Thanks for putting your heart out there. I went through similar things you did but the difference was that I turned my back on God because I was furious with Him and didn’t come back until major damage was done. Damage that can’t be fixed. After it all had been done, I cried out to God (and I mean yelled) to either help me or take me. So as always He did come to my rescue and changed my life for the better so that He would get the Glory and it was for my good in a big way. Boy, did I learn a valuable lesson. It’s ok to be mad at God but we can’t sin while being mad to “get even” with Him. So now I have a one to one relationship with Christ. I pray and stay in the Work like I have NEVER done before. I found a wonderful church family again and I keep myself busy with His work. He has blessed me and lead me to a discipleship class, A Divorce Care class and I’m even in a women’s choir at the church…me who knows nothing about proper singing but I do know how to worship Him. I’m in the “joyful noise” section. Yes, I did get my humor back. So God can get even the lowest of the low back on track but you have to be ready to give up to Him. God Bless Everyone of You, Dereise……….

  2. Song says:

    I’ve often wondered, as I see you on the other shore, just what things would be like, if they hadn’t changed. Would you have this blog, for instance? Would you have begun to explore your creativities and abilities? Would your relationships have remained shallow and surface (I take this directly from what Pastor Eddie said while preaching recently)? I cannot answer these questions. I only know that I have a deeper respect of you now. Perhaps I only viewed you as a mentor and pastor’s wife. I apologize for that. Now, I see so much ahead of you, and it is a joy to watch.

  3. diana says:

    It’s January 09 and finally i see. forgive me for pushing–for not knowing how close to sinking you had been–for only thinking about how your silence affected me. I suppose it’s good and right to ride the high waves as God takes you there, but never at the detriment of those in the bottom of the curl. there’s too much to say, and no words to say enough. i am so sorry for your pain. i love you

  4. Theodra says:

    Mikii, wow thanks for sharing your heart. I’ve learned that it’s in the storm God reveals our heart to us only to rescue us both from the storm and from our self. Reading your blog has been such an encouragement to me so please keep sharing. In Christ.

  5. Grace says:

    “But I can see that just as God had to turn away from Christ on the cross and allow Christ’s pain for the hope of humanity, when He turned away from me and allowed my pain, it was for my hope and perhaps for the hope of those who follow me as I follow Him.”

    Perfect. This is the point right there ^^. God never allows us to go through hard times for no reason. There is always a reason, whether it is to make us stronger or to help someone else in the process. When we get absorbed in our own personal predicaments, God is always looking at the bigger picture. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  6. Ray says:

    Still helping those who are “worn”. Thank you.

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