RESCUE – (from the Dry Bones’ Mission)
Within the context of relationships, hope, love, opportunity, and beauty are revealed. Everyone’s faith grows. We all get “saved” in exciting and unexpected ways.
Throughout the streets of Denver, I get to witness story after story of rescue. Rescue occurs in a moment, or the combination of several moments, and brings true life. I would not say that the rescue is always painless or seamless. Most of the time it can feel just as painful as the life the person is currently living and wanting to escape. It often involves hard work. But still, rescue, in its many forms, is necessary for us all. Our story-line must be reconstructed from brokenness to wholeness. I spent time with one of my dear friends in this very process a few nights ago.
The temperature outside had dropped to a frigid eighteen degrees and the wounds of “John’s” hard life were causing extreme pain. He had walked to our gathering hoping that the exercise might help the pain. But it made it worse. After several hours, he asked me for a ride back to his place. Over the last few years, John has been offered some great opportunities. He is now living indoors after almost two decades of living outside (physical rescue). The life he knew was violent and lonely. It was violence and loneliness that allowed him to survive the extreme sorrow from his adolescent years (from which he continues a process of being emotionally rescued). He is now thirty years old and is shackled by bodily pain. Riding in my car that night, however, he tells me how thankful he is that God has saved him (spiritual rescue).
“Saved you? But you are miserable,” I thought to myself.
He told me about how he once thought he was invincible. In actuality, he now realizes that he was trapped.
“Trapped?” I asked.
“Trapped because I thought I could always fight my way out of anything,” he said. “Now I hurt so bad I can barely walk or ride my bike.”
Still confused as to how that meant he was saved, I kept listening. He continued, “Now I have to be honest about my weakness. I can’t fool anyone. I ask for help and I don’t get mad when people can’t help me. It’s kind of like my old foster mom. I know she cares for me but can’t always give me money. I understand that now and I don’t get mad at her any more. I hurt all the time, but I am not afraid to keep on going. My pain reminds me of the old days when I didn’t care about life. But now, even though it is very hard, the pain keeps me safe from my old self. I pray more. I thank God that I’m alive every day, because for so many years I was basically trying to kill myself. And I’m glad I have learned to depend on God.”
We stopped at his place and he got out of the car, looked me in the eye, and said, “God bless you Robbie. I love you.”
I’ve known John for 11 years now. I have witnessed a lot of spiritual, emotional, and physical rescue in his life. As we rode in the car together and John blessed me, saying those three powerful words, “I love you,” I too experienced a personal story of rescue. I was once again saved from my own complaints of pain, things worth worrying about, and a lack of my own dependence on God. I was rescued from feeling like the emotional and spiritual investment with John and others was all in vain. I was saved from my too-small view of God and the power of love.
Around Dry Bones, we certainly all need each other. Rescue breaks out in many different forms for all of us. We all get “saved” in some very exciting and unexpected ways.