Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all. Ex.5:22-23.
A long time ago, when I was helpless and small, darkness swallowed me up. A series of terrifying events pierced me with confusion and pain. I was a tiny person with a big broken heart.
As I grew up, I inhaled and exhaled the shadows into ugly strongholds of dysfunction and sin. The Enemy clawed his way in to sow dark seeds in the fertile soil of my needy heart. Yes, I knew and loved the Lord. Yes, Life lived in me. I did not even know I was twisted and bent, gnarled like an infested tree that is eaten alive inside yet still spreads strong branch arms of green-veined leaves over roots that reach hungrily for sustenance. I thought the roots and leaves were enough; I did not acknowledge the disease feasting me into dust.
When the infestation finally overflowed and crawled its way like a swarm of tiny insects into every corner of my life, I thought they would devour me forever.
This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all. The hearts of people, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead. Ecc.9:3.
During that long season of drowning in shades, I lived bewildered, groping for the Lord, begging Him to throw me a lifeline of Light. I sought counsel and comfort. I placed my fragility into the capable hands of strong helpers. They guided me, comforted me, instructed me with insight and love. But they could not heal me (only a Healer can do that). Walking by faith because my sight was clouded with shadows, I lifted up the pieces of my broken heart with shaking hands as a living sacrifice to the Author and Finisher of my faith, believing, in spite of the waves of darkness, that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. Phil.1:6. At church, I laid my soul bare in worship. Those few moments a week of singing truth back to the Lord were water to my cracking soul. We regularly sang a song of rescue, called Came to My Rescue, by Hillsong.
I called, You answered, and You came to my rescue, and I want to be where you are.
I hated that song.
The haunting strains of this beautiful song would fill the sanctuary, inviting us to the throne room of worship, and I would shake with rage. You did not rescue me, Lord. You could have, but You didn’t. And now I’m supposed to act like that is Ok? No thanks. Maybe you can rescue me now, but nothing will ever change the reality that you did not rescue me then. I could not even respectfully force the words out of my mouth. I would ball up, clenched, until the song was over.
We have not sung that song for awhile. During that time, the Healer taught me about redemption. Sometimes Terrible Things happen to helpless people, people who cannot escape. That is part of the legacy of the Fall. The Enemy knows that if he can breathe his foul black lung lies into a child, he just might lock his greedy arms around him or her for life.
But those of us who have lived in fragments are not beyond hope. But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Ps.10:14.
When the Lord judged Israel for defying his covenant, he did it for one reason: idol worship. Israel had succumbed to a culture of pagan idolatry. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Deut.6:14.
In our day, judgment offends. We talk about the “old testament god of judgment” and the “new testament god of grace.” But the Bible says that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Heb.13:8. Because of my childhood, it is simpler for me to understand. In the days of Israel’s judgment, pagan worship consisted of Terrible Things: child sacrifice and temple prostitution, often child prostitution. We complain about a God who judges, but He did it for this: They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded—nor did it enter my mind—that they should do such a detestable thing. Jer.32:35.
God is the defender of the helpless and the oppressed. When his people murdered and prostituted their children to indulge in pagan revelry, He disciplined them swiftly and thoroughly. I wish I knew the stories of those children – children like me, maybe like you, helpless and suffering. God was moved with compassion for those little ones. He defended them, fought so that they could be safe. In His mysterious grace, He did not stop their oppression, but He rescued them nonetheless. I wonder if He did not intervene in their lives (my life) because He was confident that He would heal them wholly whenever they called upon His Name. The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he waits on high to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. blessed are all who wait for him! People of God, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Is.30:18-19. He knew that their story, though unravelled by Terrible Things, would be knit back together when they lifted up the trailing threads of their tangled lives. He is the Healer. He weaves stories of suffering and redemption, gleaming within the larger Story of extravagant Love, eternal Rescue.
The Lord had compassion on me. He Shone into the graves inside of me and raised what was buried into abundant life. He rescued me now, and the Healing has ricocheted back with brilliant power to obliterate the shadows. Light overcomes darkness. All is grace.
Today we sang Came to My Rescue and I worshipped with my whole being, tears of grace streaming. Those tears are bottled in heaven next to the old tears that I will never cry again.
In my life, be lifted high. In my world, be lifted high. In my love, be lifted high.
I worship my Rescuer.